Dissident Chen Guangcheng says China pressured NYU to force him out


Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng at New York University on May 19, 2012.


Andy Jacobsohn

NEW YORK — Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng says China's government pressured New York University to force him and his family to leave at the end of this month.

Last year, Chen escaped house arrest and fled to the American Embassy in Beijing, sparking a diplomatic crisis between China and the United States.

The countries eventually worked out a deal that enabled the blind lawyer to travel to the United States for a one-year fellowship at NYU.

"The Chinese Communists had already begun to apply great, unrelenting pressure on NYU ... that after just three to four months, NYU was already starting to discuss our departure with us," Chen said in a statement.

The university has denied Chen's allegations.

NYU spokesman John Beckman said the fellowship had merely come to it conclusion and that Chen's claims were "both false and contradicted by the well-established facts."

Chen also said Beijing authorities wanted "to make me so busy trying to earn a living that I don't have time for human rights advocacy, but this is not going to happen."

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As GlobalPost recently reported, Chen, an outspoken critic of Beijing's human rights record, has become an even bigger thorn in the side of China's Communist Party since leaving his native country. He was recently awarded Britain's Westminster Award to China's chagrin.

Chen, who initially said he wished to return to China after the fellowship, no longer wants to go back home.

The BBC reported Chen is in talks with two American institutions about jobs that would allow him to remain in the US.

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