Last week, the New York Post claimed that dissident lawyer Chen Guangcheng was leaving New York University (NYU) because the school had yielded to pressure from the Chinese government.
Several publications refuted the claims made by the not-always-reputable New York Post, but now Chen himself has released a statement confirming the Post’s version of events.
In his statement, Chen said that his family had been told to leave NYU by the end of June and that Communist Party officials began pressuring NYU to get Chen to leave just three or four months after Chen arrived in the US. The New York Post story had claimed that the pressure from China came as NYU was seeking to open a campus in Shanghai.
NYU, on the other hand, say that Chen had been awarded a one-year fellowship, which had simply run its course.
John Beckman, an NYU spokesman told Reuters that Chen’s statements are “both false and contradicted by the well-established facts.”
Jerome Cohen, a law professor at NYU and friend of Chen’s who was instrumental in arranging for Chen to study at NYU, told the Washington Post, “No political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU.”
Cohen also said that it would be odd for the Chinese government to grant Chen and his family passports to leave China, only to then bully NYU into forcing him out.
Chen is said to be considering two offers, one from Fordham Law School in New York, the other from Witherspoon Institute, a socially conservative think tank based in Princeton, New Jersey.
Chen, a self-taught lawyer who campaigned against forced abortions, came to global prominence when he made a dramatic escape from house arrest last year. Chen had been living in New York with his wife and two children and studying at NYU after he was granted a passport.
[Image credit: @speakerboehner]