NYU Throws Out Blind Chinese Human Rights Activist

ch_2235864bThe leftist-indoctrination centers that many of America’s college campuses have become added another despicable blot to their legacies yesterday. New York University (NYU) announced that blind, Chinese political dissident Chen Guangcheng has been tossed off campus. According to the NY Post, the Communist government of China is applying the pressure, using NYU’s expansion of its campus to a facility in Shanghai as leverage. Chen’s presence at NYU has apparently rankled Chinese bureaucrats who signed off on the expansion permits. “NYU isn’t letting a pesky thing like human rights stand in the way of its expansion in China,” reports the Post.

“The big problem is that NYU is very compromised by the fact they are working very closely with the Chinese to establish a university,” said one New York-based professor familiar with Chen’s situation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity “That’s their liability,” the source added. “Otherwise, they would be much less constrained on issues like freedom of speech.”

University officials are denying the charge, claiming Chen’s presence on campus was never intended to be long-term, adding that the Chinese government had already signed off on the Shanghai project. “If there were outside pressure, why would we have taken him in the first place when his plight was on every front page in the world?” spokesman John Beckman said in a statement to the Post.

If Chen’s presence wan’t meant to be long-term, then why did the Washington Post report that the school had “custom-tailored Chen’s legal curriculum,” beginning in June 13, 2012? Considering Chen had to learn English first, and was slated to “make his way in the coming weeks from the Declaration of Independence toward constitutional law,” accomplishing both tasks in less than a year would be a Herculean effort. Furthermore, Chen is scheduled to visit Chinese nemesis Taiwan in the coming weeks — meaning pressure against NYU could have ratcheted up recently.

Chen has been an outspoken critic of China’s human rights policies, speaking before a Congress on the subject. He also says that the Communist government has not lived up to the pledge it made to U.S. diplomats that members of his extended family who have remained in China would be treated in accordance with the law. Two of his relatives have apparently borne the brunt of government retaliation for Chen’s escape. His nephew, Chen Kegui, was sentenced to 39 months in jail following an altercation with local officials who reportedly stormed his parents’ house. And his oldest brother, Chen Guangfu, reports that he and his family are constantly harassed by local thugs who have assaulted him, tossed dead animals onto the family’s property, and distributed insulting flyers about them.

Such treatment by the Chinese government is nothing new. While he was still in China, Chen was illegally kept under house arrest for four years. When he escaped with the help of human rights organizations, and ended up at America’s Embassy in Beijing, government officials demanded an apology for harboring him. “What the U.S. side has done has interfered in the domestic affairs of China, and the Chinese side will never accept it,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Weimin told China’s official Xinhua news agency.

At this point the story takes a curious twist. When Chen left the embassy, handing himself back to the Communist government, he checked into a hospital to get treatment for injuries caused by his escape. American diplomats reported Chen did so of his own free will, after they procured assurances from government officials that he would be safe. Yet in an interview given to the AP from his hospital bed, Chen declared that a U.S. official had told him the government would send his family back home, and beat his wife to death if he didn’t leave the embassy. “They said if I don’t leave they would take my children and family back to Shandong,” Chen told the AP, adding that the death threat was conveyed by an official he could not identify.

Embassy officials concurred with Chen’s statement that if he stayed in the embassy indefinitely, his family would have been sent home. But they denied passing on any threat of violence.

Chen’s dissident friends backed his version of the events, with his wife claiming that “what the media reported is wrong,” and characterizing the deal to return her husband to Chinese custody as “shameful.” She further noted that a widely reported message that Chen wanted to “kiss” then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, ostensibly as a gesture of gratitude, was actually a demand to “see” her before he was returned to Chinese custody.

Chen’s eventual move to NYU was brokered by NYU law professor and China expert Jerome Cohen, the same man who designed his curriculum. Cohen is currently in China and could not be reached for comment. Chen has had little communication with NYU President John Sexton, who is chiefly responsible for the NYU’s expansion into Shanghai and Abu Dhabi. And despite university denials, insiders told the Post that the university sees itself as “increasingly vulnerable to pressure from China as the Shanghai campus project moves forward.”

Chen is currently in discussions with Fordham Law School in New York, to see if he can continue his studies at that school.

What the Post didn’t mention was Chen’s particular brand of human rights activism. He is ardently pro-life and highly critical of China’s forced sterilization policy. A 2005 report complied by Chen and his human rights team regarding coercive family planning in Linyi City, Shandong Province, included witness statements revealing several gruesome details about the policy. These included aborting and forcibly sterilizing a woman seven months pregnant; Family Planning Officials breaking three brooms over the head of an elderly man, and forcing a grandmother and her brother to beat each other up; people sleeping in fields to avoid those same officials; and the detention, fining and torture of extended family members of anyone who violates the nation’s One Child Policy.

In the progressive universe of college campuses like NYU, it is likely Chen’s pro-life efforts are viewed with a certain amount of apprehension, if not downright hostility.

In conjunction with Chen’s ouster, it is worth remembering that NYU recently rolled out the red carpet for another “dissident” apparently more in tune with the university’s worldview. In April, NYU announced that former Weather Underground member and convicted murderer Kathy Boudin would be named the university’s Sheinberg Scholar-in-Residence. The Rose Sheinburg Lecture Program “invites a scholar working on cutting-edge issues of gender, race, and class to participate in a day of informal discussion, classroom teaching and formal lecture in order to expose the Law School community to a variety of ideas, insights, and initiatives.”

The biography of Boudin contained at the site is a pathetic example of historical revisionism. “Kathy Boudin has been dedicated to community involvement in social change since the 1960’s. She works for transformation of the criminal justice system through education, activism, and research and has published widely in the areas of  education, parenting, women, health, and restorative justice.” Other “insignificant” details omitted from this paean include the fact that Boudin spent 22 years in prison for an armored-car robbery–during which two policemen and Brinks guard were murdered.

At NYU, human rights champion Guangcheng Chen gets the boot even as a murderous thug like Kathy Boudin is lionized. In the ivied halls of academia, it doesn’t get any more intellectually bankrupt than that.

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  • Chez

    The hiring of Boudin and the scrubbing of her crime is a new low for academe. Sickening is the adjective that comes to mind. Chen’s expulsion is just par for the course. Finally, for all their cunning, you’d think the Chinese would have a clue that their ‘one-child’ policy is creating the greatest (and gravest) demographic curve in the history of planet Earth. One can anticipate a future 30 years down the road in which tens of millions of young Pakistanis and Indonesians are imported to work China’s factories as a billion Chinese hit retirement age and leave the work force. Russia and Europe will then have nothing on China in terms of its Islamic future.

  • rbla

    President Sexton is an interesting case study in liberal hypocrisy. His most
    recent project is the bulldozing of large parts of New York’s historic
    Greenwich Village in order to add the equivalent of an Empire State building to
    the NYU campus. NYU’s plan would overwhelm and oversaturate a residential
    neighborhood, turn it into a twenty-year construction zone and eliminate public
    park space. NYU also boasts of its facility in Abu
    Dhabi. Exorbitant tuition costs and the lack of employment for recent graduates
    have resulted in a massive student debt problem; NYU under Sexton currently
    averages over $40,000 in annual tuition charges. These already exorbitant
    tuition charges will certainly increase in order to finance NYU’s latest
    overbuilding. In 2003 Sexton was named deputy chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank
    of New York where he failed in his duty of asking salient questions and probing
    at the time that the subprime meltdown began percolating. His project is intended to open up the Village
    for the future designs of the real estate developers. The latter are of course
    closely tied to the very Wall Street bankers that Sexton hobnobbed with during
    his tenure at the FRBNY.

  • MannieP

    What do you expect from The Left? They don’t give a spit about Human Rights. They are only interested in advancing the Leftist Agenda.

    • frodo

      If that’s the case here, why offer Mr Chen a place at all?

      • PennyRobinsonFanClub

        You DID actually read the story, yes?

        • frodo

          Yes, and I read other news sources. My question’s worth an answer–if it’s the case that “The Left” doesn’t care about “Human Rights,” why offer Mr Chen a position in the first place? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to avoid this altogether–esp as NYU’s plans for expansion in China were already well under way?

          • Rocky Mountain

            They may’ve cared about Chen originally until money came calling.

          • frodo

            “Money” as you say was already calling–the sequence of events doesn’t support the post’s interpretation.

  • frodo

    You must, of course, realize that law school only takes three years for a novice student. Mr Chen isn’t taking 1L courses, is he? He’s focused on specific issues.

    If the man who negotiated his exit from China says there’s no pressure on NYU and that there was never a plan for a long-term position, what’s the problem? Is Mr Chen being expelled from the country? *That* would be a cause for outrage, sure, but that’s not what’s happening here.

    Until there’s some actual evidence of pressure, it would make more sense to believe Mr Jerome and the University than some anonymous source quoted in the NY Post.

    In re: Boudin, you indulge, I think, in a false analogy.

    • PennyRobinsonFanClub

      What analogy? It’s a look at comparative treatment of two individuals: one who stood up to a Communist regime, and one who committed terrorism and murder while advocating the overthrow of the US government.

      • frodo

        I don’t think that NYU was wise to appoint Boudin to a position–but I also do not think that two things are so easily comparable. Particularly when it does not seem to be the case that Mr Chen is getting “the boot.”

    • putthehammerdown

      ….and since you use a name affiliated with a Seeming Troll ,
      I have Zero Troubles, calling you one.
      ‘Scuse me, for I have/feel a need to create ‘A Technicolor Smile’ after seeing your drivel……

      • frodo

        Is disagreement a sign of troll-ness? I’m not sure what you mean by “Seeming Troll,” regardless.

  • Jeff Ludwig

    This article brought tears to my eyes. My heart is aching, and I am hurting from the rage I feel, the sorrow for the dissident’s family, and deep disgust with the pro-abortion forces in the PRC and here in the USA. Kathy Boudin secures a post at NYU; meanwhile I am being pushed out of a adjunct lectureship at a community college because I refuse to give all the students a grade of C+ or higher. I am groaning with sorrow and disgust at this fallen world!

    • Drakken

      It is always darkest before dawn my friend, there are places for you, just keep charging on, this too shall pass.

      • Jeff Ludwig

        Thanks. I needed to read that Drakken.

  • Ghostwriter

    I hope this guy gets another job. He deserves it.

  • Guest

    Why are there gooks in the perimeter?
    ~ John McCain

  • $1976605

    Only 39 months for fighting off stormtroopers coming in your home? Hell, in Armerika they shoot you for “interfering with an officer” and “resisting” a no-knock warrant. Police in the FUSA need to teach them a thing or two about headbanging.
    This would not be happening if White had a Country of our own.

  • Charles Collins

    Well, the NYU business management and political correctness (neo-Stalinist orthodoxy) teams have, once again, struck a compromise for the financial benefit of a bloated administration budget at the mere cost of academic integrity, our Bill of Rights (particularly, but not only, Freedom of Speech), and NYU John Sexton must just bask in the approval of the Shanghai branch and the vain expectation that the Red Chinese government will like him. (They will pretend to like him, for a while.) All this comes at the mere cost of the sacrifice of Chen Guangcheng, a fighter for the same freedoms for which American soldiers, sailors, airmen, & marines spilled their blood for since 1775 at Lexington & Concord.

    Well, no matter, Mr. Sexton has his Shanghai cathedral and his spiritual kinship with another president, all at the cost of an insignificant human being and a Constitution we weren’t using anyway.

    Mr. Sexton must bask in the success of such a good trade!