News / Asia

China's Blind Activist to Leave New York University

Chen GuangchengChen Guangcheng
x
Chen Guangcheng
Chen Guangcheng
Natalie Liu
The blind Chinese activist who arrived in the United States last year will be leaving New York University at the end of this month.  News of Chen Guangcheng's departure from the university has caused a stir in the media, with some reports accusing NYU of having kicked the activist out in order to appease the Chinese government.

NYU has been home to Chen, his wife and two children since they arrived in the U.S. on May 19, 2012.  The university has provided him with an office and a nearby apartment, according to a university spokesman and others familiar with Chen's circumstances.

The head of NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute, Jerome Cohen, helped arrange Mr. Chen's departure for the United States after he had spent six days in the U.S. embassy in Beijing.  Cohen issued a statement Thursday saying "no political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU."  Cohen added that Chen "now is in the process of choosing between two attractive opportunities."

Earlier, the Financial Times reported that Mr. Chen has been offered a three-year contract to work at the Witherspoon Institute, a pro-life research institute based in Princeton, New Jersey, while also in negotiations with another New York-based university on becoming a visiting scholar.  On Thursday, Fordham University's senior director of communications, Bob Howe, said the school is in negotiations with Chen.  But he would not comment further.

The New York Post, which first reported the story of Chen's imminent departure from NYU, describes him as "scrambling to find a new home."  The newspaper notes that NYU is negotiating with China to open a branch campus in Shanghai and suggests that is behind the decision for the Chinese dissident's departure.  NYU denied that in a statement released Thursday, saying Chen's status "has never come up" during the Shanghai campus negotiations.

Arthur Waldron is the Lauder professor of international relations in the Department of History at the University of Pennsylvania and a long-time observer of U.S.-China relations.

"NYU did the right thing in accepting him.  The circumstances of his departure are not clear.  Some people are saying that it is unrelated to NYU's goal of opening a campus in China," Waldron said.

Waldron, a known critic of a "soft" approach toward China, says he worries that the U.S. government and institutions are getting too cozy with a government that is not democratically elected and does not necessarily represent its citizens' rights or wishes.

"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.

Waldron says the Chinese have come to the conclusion that most Americans and most American institutions will sacrifice their principles for money.

Chen, who is 41, first gained international recognition as a defender of rural Chinese women who went through forced sterilizations or forced late-term abortions.  He has continued to criticize the Chinese government since arriving in the U.S.  He says Chinese authorities still harass his family.

In a conversation with NYU Law School staff, Chen expressed optimism about China's future: "It is not important whether the leaders [of China] change; the most important thing is whether citizens have the consciousness to recover their own rights.  All in all, the awakening of the Chinese people is occurring at the speed of a thousand miles a day -- yi ri qian li ... the historical development is inevitable; I do not think any force can stop it."

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid