Chinese pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng, who was released by Beijing's communist government a year ago and allowed to re-locate to the United States, is leaving New York University, and Chen claims the school is being pressured by China's regime to boot him out. Chen escaped to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing last year after suffering years of abuse and imprisonment at the hands of the Chinese government over his efforts to expose the government's repressive one-child policy that includes forced late-term abortions for women and forced sterilization for couples who challenge the system. He was later granted political amnesty in the United States and was invited to relocate to NYU and continue his law studies.
According to the BBC, NYU announced that Chen would leave this summer and that his tenure at the school was never meant to be open-ended. “We were pleased to offer Mr Chen and his family a place to come and study and support his transition to the U.S. when he first left China,” NYU spokesman John Beckman was quoted by BBC as saying. He added that “NYU and Mr Chen had discussions beginning last fall that NYU could not support him indefinitely.”
But the New York Times reported Sunday, June 16, that Chen accused NYU of bowing to pressure from the Chinese government to force him to leave. “In a statement released Sunday, Mr. Chen said university officials were worried that his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government might threaten academic cooperation,” reported the Times. “NYU recently opened a campus in Shanghai, and a number of professors are involved in programs and research projects here that could be harmed if they were denied Chinese visas.”
In his statement Chen said that the “work of the Chinese Communists within academic circles in the United States is far greater than what people imagine, and some scholars have no option but to hold themselves back. Academic independence and academic freedom in the United States are being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime.”
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Photo of Chen Guangcheng: AP Images