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Chinese dissident to leave New York University

Last Updated: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 12:57

New York: The New York University said on Thursday that it would soon part ways with prominent Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng but insisted that he would soon find another way to stay in the United States.

Chen, a blind self-taught lawyer who angered authorities by exposing abuses in China`s one-child-only policy, escaped house arrest a year ago and was allowed to move to the United States to study after protracted negotiations.

New York University, a private institution in Manhattan, said that it had only guaranteed Chen and his family one year of study "to get their feet on the ground."
"We could not see beyond one year at that point, but I have always made clear, and the university authorities agreed, that our US-Asia Law Institute would allow him to stay beyond one year until a better, more permanent, opportunity arose," said Jerome Cohen, Chen`s professor and mentor.

"He now is in the process of choosing between two attractive opportunities," Cohen, a leading expert on Chinese laws on human rights, said in a statement released by the university.

New York University was responding to an article in the New York Post that alleged that the school was letting Chen go due to sensitivities as it was working to expand in Shanghai to tap into the lucrative Chinese market.

Cohen rejected the charge, saying he "never heard a word" -- even from Chinese diplomats -- linking Chen`s case to the Shanghai campus.

"No political refugee, even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment by an American academic institution than that received by Chen from NYU," he said.
University spokesman John Beckman said that Chen`s situation was due to "unrelated matters," saying that the school would not have taken him in a first place if it had been worried about the impact on its Shanghai plans.

Chen is virtually certain to be able to stay in the United States due to the high profile of his case, with US lawmakers from both major parties strongly supportive of him.

Nancy Pelosi, the leader in the House of Representatives from President Barack Obama`s Democratic Party and a longtime advocate of human rights in China, spoke to Chen about the plight about a month ago, an aide said.

"It is her hope that NYU will continue its generosity by allowing Mr Chen the time he needs to effectively make this transition," said Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Pelosi.


First Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 - 12:57
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