New York Post, By JAMES COVERT
NYU brass could be summoned to Washington to defend the school’s cozy relationship with Beijing after booting a blind Chinese dissident from its campus, The Post has learned.
US Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) yesterday said he wants to hold hearings on Capitol Hill about NYU’s ouster of self-taught lawyer Chen Guangcheng under pressure from China.
As The Post exclusively reported yesterday, the university — which is building a campus in Shanghai — has given Chen until the end of the month to leave because his presence rankles Chinese authorities.
Smith, a prominent congressional critic of US foreign policy in China who is familiar with details of Chen’s NYU stay, said yesterday he is convinced the school has been treating Chen like a hot potato amid heat from China.
“I have no doubt it was pressure from the government,” Smith told The Post, when asked about the move-out order.
“They can come and testify under oath that it’s not true,” Smith told The Post. “I’m ready to go.”
NYU yesterday defended the eviction.
Jerome Cohen, the NYU professor who helped broker Chen’s stay after the activist’s daring May 2012 escape from his homeland, denied there was any political pressure from China and contended that Chen was supposed to stay for only a year.
But Smith countered that Chen “was not treated well” during the year he has spent with his family at NYU faculty housing in Greenwich Village.
“He had a place, a physical space to stay,” Smith said. “But contact was extraordinarily limited and it was under the watchful eye of somebody who would report on him.”
To make matters worse, Smith said Chen was discouraged repeatedly by NYU officials from speaking out against the Chinese government.
“There were little penalties all along the way,” Smith said, declining to be specific.
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