Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng leaving NYU

June 14, 2013 at 3:49 PM
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NEW YORK, June 14 (UPI) -- Critics say New York University decided to end its relationship with Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng because of fear of the Chinese government.

Chen, a blind human-rights activist who was allowed to leave China last year after taking refuge in the U.S. Embassy, has been at NYU since then, provided with an office and an apartment where he lives with his wife and two children. But the news broke this week he is leaving NYU at the end of the month, Voice of America reported.

Jerome Cohen, head of the U.S.-Asia Law Institute at NYU, said Chen is choosing between "two attractive opportunities."

Cohen helped negotiate Chen's departure from China.

"No political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU," Cohen said.

Cohen said NYU guaranteed Chen a year to get on his feet in the United States, The Washington Post reported.

Arthur Waldron, a professor of international relations at the University of Pennsylvania, told Voice of America that NYU might have been influenced by its plans to open a satellite campus in China.

"What we're seeing is that university after university, though not all universities, and think tanks and other organizations, too, are compromising their basic principles of human rights, freedom of speech, and so forth, in order to obtain something from this autocratic regime, for instance a campus in China, or access, yes," Waldron said.

Chen became known as a critic of China's one-child policy and accompanying forced abortions and sterlizations. The Financial Times said he has been offered a contract by the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, N.J., a pro-life think tank, and Fordham University, a Catholic school in New York, has said it is in discussions with him.

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