U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sets off Monday night on a trip that was supposed to be a routine checkup on U.S.-China relations.
Instead, she is flying into a firestorm after a high-profile dissident's daring escape from house arrest. The blind legal activist, Chen Guangcheng, is now believed to be under U.S. protection — and diplomats are scrambling to try to resolve the issue quickly.
On her first visit to China as secretary of state in 2009, Clinton emphasized other issues besides human rights.
With Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner due in China for economic talks that start on Thursday, the U.S. and China are rushing to avert a diplomatic crisis over the fate of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.