World magazine reports on Chen Guangcheng and US-China Academic Relations

Jamie Dean, writing for World, began the story of Chen Guangcheng by regaling readers with an overview of Chen’s escape from China and the persecution he and his family endured prior to the escape. Dean transitioned to the Chen-New York University (NYU) saga. Dean’s article addressed the growing power that China holds over U.S academia. Dean also revealed that these joint campuses between the U.S. and China are funded primarily by the Chinese government with NYU’s Shanghai campus expected to cost the Chinese $104 million. This funding apparently gives the Chinese government some power to restrict the academic freedom of the American universities curriculum. This prospect has left many concerned. The Shanghai branch would be NYU’s second satellite campus, the first being located in the United Arab Emirates.

“The Abu Dhabi arrangement rankled some NYU faculty. They worried about entanglement with a repressive regime, and wondered about academic freedoms. They said the school was spreading itself too thin. They complained the process didn’t seem transparent.

Cary Nelson, a past president of the American Association of University Professors, told the Chronicle of Higher Education college officials are ‘spinning fantasies if they think that’s not a problem.’

Perry Link, a China scholar at the University of California, Riverside, says connections to China can foster a dynamic of ‘induced self-censorship’ for those who fear backlash—especially students or scholars who need to travel to China for their studies or their careers,” Dean wrote.

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