Chinese dissident says getting support from three US institutions
By Matthew Pennington, APWASHINGTON--Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng (陳光誠) announced Wednesday that he had new affiliations with three U.S. institutions after leaving New York University under disputed circumstances. He said they would provide him a fresh platform to speak out against the Chinese's government's “inhumane brutality.”
October 4, 2013, 12:17 am TWN
The blind dissident's escape from house arrest in China in 2012 sparked a diplomatic crisis after he took refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The new U.S. affiliations cover a wide ideological range, which may go some way to countering concerns that he's aligned himself too closely identified with American conservatives as he wages his war of words with Beijing.
For the next three years, he will be supported in his studies and human rights advocacy by the Witherspoon Institute, a conservative think tank in Princeton, N.J., the Catholic University of America in Washington, and the Lantos Foundation, a human rights organization in Concord, N.H.
“I believe that human rights supersede partisan politics and (are) greater than national borders as well,” Chen said at a news conference. Speaking through an interpreter, the self-trained lawyer said his goal would be to push China toward democracy and constitutional government.
For the time being he'll remain in New York, where his two children are in school, with a view to relocating later to Washington.
Chen's flight to the U.S. Embassy on the eve of high-level U.S.-China talks last year complicated the Obama administration's efforts to foster more cooperative relations with the Asian power, which has seen remarkable economic growth but brooks no political dissent.
With the agreement of China, Chen and his family came to the United States, and since last May, he'd been a special student at NYU's U.S.-Asia Law Institute.
He has said that NYU forced him to leave because of pressure from the Chinese government. The school denies that, saying that his one-year fellowship was up.
Chen expressed gratitude Wednesday for the “assistance and care” NYU had provided, but made clear he still felt the university had faced pressure from Beijing.