Quiet Diplomacy

Richard Bernstein weighs the efficacy of the U.S. strategy of quiet diplomacy with China, using the example of Xue Feng's under-wraps imprisonment. Feng is an American citizen:

The question is whether more aggressive and immediate intervention by the United States in matters like that of Xue Feng would help. Perhaps there is some middle ground between quiet diplomacy as now practiced and China’s politics of bluster and threatsome presidential comment, a statement by the secretary of state, a petition signed by academic specialists on China.

The main reason Xue had been in prison for a year before his case was even reported in the press was his family’s fear that calling any public attention to the matter would only worsen China’s treatment of him. The American embassy in Beijing similarly kept quiet even in the face of China’s violations of the consular conventionin large part, people familiar with the case have told me, out of deference to the Xue family’s wishes, even though Xue himself was saying that he wanted his detention to be made known publicly.