Chinese Dissident Chen GuangchengTo Step Down From His Post at NYUBy Staff Reporter, UniversityHerald Reporter
Chen Guangcheng, a rebel from China who escaped an informal house arrest last year and fled to the U.S., will quit his post at the New York University by the end of this month. NYU officials denied any links between Guangcheng's departure and negotiations with the Chinese officials to establish a Shanghai campus.
"The plain fact is that these are unrelated matters," NYU spokesman John Beckman said. "In countless hours of conversations involving the establishment of our Shanghai campus, this matter has never come up."
Jerome Cohen, a New York University law professor, said that the reports of expelling Guangcheng from the university due to pressures from Beijing are utterly fake and distorted. In any way, the Chinese government did not attempt to force the university to end Guangcheng's tenure at NYU, he said.
Guangcheng, who heavily criticised China's one-child policy, was jailed for five years and then was subjected to informal house arrest for two years before escaping to the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Cohen and several others helped to strike a deal between the U.S. and Chinese governments to allow Guangcheng and his family to leave the country to serve as a visiting scholar at NYU.
Guangcheng is alleged to have encouraged young mothers who have been the victims of forced abortions to file a suit against the local officials in Chinese courts. Cohen stated that why would the Chinese government authorise Guangcheng to leave the country and then threaten NYU to fire him from the campus. He said that the Chinese government agreed to Chen and his family leaving their mother land and it also has no problems with his position at the NYU law school.
"No good deed goes unpunished," said Cohen. "No political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU, and I am grateful to the university administration for its extraordinary generosity, which could not reasonably be expected to go on indefinitely."
The university provided the blind Chinese activist housing, health insurance, food, clothing and electronic equipment, along with an office and language translation support. During his stay at NYU, Guangcheng was working on a book that was considered to be a source of income for him and his family.
"We indicated that beyond this academic year he would need to make a transition to a more self-supporting life-with which NYU would and has been helping him-which would involve him finding new living arrangements," Beckman said.
Guangcheng, a self- taught lawyer, is currently in the process of approaching other universities including Fordham University and the Witherspoon Institute.