Friday, June 21, 2013 2:6:46 GMT
The Wall Street Journal, China June 19, 2013, 11:03 PM
Blind Activist’s Former Adviser: Pressure Claims ‘Mystifying’
Controversy continues to swirl around Chen Guangcheng.
The blind Chinese activist said over the weekend that he was being forced out of New York University after the school faced “unrelenting pressure” from Chinese authorities in connection with its planned campus in Shanghai. He had been given a fellowship at the university following his daring escape from home detention last spring.
But on Wednesday, one of the lawyers brought in by NYU to assist Mr. Chen’s transition to life in the U.S. rejected the notion that the Chinese government played any role in his imminent departure from the campus.
“His time at the university is simply coming to its conclusion, a conclusion that was determined long ago and that Mr. Chen has been aware of since shortly after his arrival in the United States,” Mattie J. Bekink, Mr. Chen’s former special adviser, said in a statement sent to The Wall Street Journal. “I should know, since I am the one who told him about the length of his tenure at NYU.”
Mark Corallo, co-founder of Corallo Media Strategies Inc., the public-relations firm that now represents Mr. Chen on a pro bono basis, referred to Mr. Chen’s weekend statement and said Mr. Chen had no further comment for now.
The Chinese activist was brought to NYU at the request of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to one person close to the university leadership, with help from NYU law professor Jerome Cohen. NYU and Harold Hongju Koh, a former legal adviser at the State Department who is currently a law professor at Yale University, denies that the request came directly from Mrs. Clinton, with Mr. Koh saying he reached out to NYU. Efforts to reach Mrs. Clinton were unsuccessful.
Ms. Bekink worked as a consultant to NYU in 2011 and 2012, first assisting the university in its efforts to establish a campus in Shanghai and later traveling to New York to assist Mr. Chen.
Calling the suggestion that the Communist Party pressured NYU to push out the activist “absurd,” she said both Mr. Cohen and the university went out of their way to aid the activist’s recovery and work in the U.S.
In her statement, Ms. Bekink said:
//As a lawyer who had done rule of law work in China, I was glad to come to New York to assist the courageous Mr. Chen and his family. I believe he is a remarkable individual who has faced tremendous injustice, suffered greatly, and nonetheless continues to shine with a sense of purpose and optimism that is inspiring. His legal advocacy work was impressive and important for China. It was a great privilege to work with him and I look back at our time together fondly. I am very saddened to see him now distorting the facts about his time at NYU. It is for this reason that I wish to set the record straight.
NYU has consistently been generous to and supportive of Mr. Chen and his family. The university, with no advance warning, no budget, and no chance to prepare, embraced Mr. Chen and provided him with an unprecedented level of support. Professor Jerry Cohen’s comment that “no political refugee, not even Albert Einstein, has received better treatment,” couldn’t be more apt. Professor Cohen’s personal generosity similarly cannot be overstated.
NYU’s support for the Chens was extensive and comprehensive. It was thoughtful and deeply personal, specifically designed to meet their needs and adapted as those needs changed. When Mr. Chen arrived in New York, he was recovering from injuries sustained from his dramatic escape. NYU provided physical therapists to work with him along with an interpreter. When the children faced an unplanned summer, NYU found them a bilingual Mandarin summer camp and provided daily transportation. My clear instructions from the university were to do whatever was necessary to support this family. Never once did NYU deny a request I made on behalf of the Chens, regardless of expense. The university always put the Chens’ needs first.
Describing herself as “mystified” by Mr. Chen’s claim that NYU had caved to political pressure from Beijing, Ms. Bekink said the university not only didn’t curtail his human-rights advocacy, but rather worked to facilitate it. Among other things, she said, NYU provided him with interpreters, helped him to write and place op-eds, and arranged meetings with media, scholars, government officials and others.
Her statement continued:
//NYU’s unflinching support for Mr. Chen clearly demonstrates that it was not influenced by the Chinese government. As the university has pointed out, approval for the NYU Shanghai campus came only after Mr. Chen was already comfortably settled in his Greenwich Village apartment. If the university had put its own interests in China ahead of its commitment to academic integrity and principles of academic freedom, it never would have extended the invitation to Mr. Chen in the first place. NYU also did not accept Mr. Chen under duress. It was public knowledge as Mr. Chen’s departure from China was being negotiated that he had offers from other institutions, such as the University of Washington. NYU could easily have side-stepped this matter, so its welcoming of him and its continuous support make plain the university’s values have not been compromised.
NYU provided Mr. Chen with a soft landing as a fellow in the Law School and helped him adjust to life in the United States. The plan was to support him and his family for a year and then assist them in making more permanent arrangements. That was always the understanding, and Mr. Chen was informed of this and was very grateful. NYU never committed to supporting the family indefinitely. The only thing that has changed is the passage of time.
It is a great shame that as his time at NYU comes to a close Mr. Chen chooses to malign his friends and supporters at the university with false statements. But his comments suggest that he is having a hard time accepting the reality of his new life. It is not the Chinese communist authorities who “want to make [him] so busy trying to earn a living that [he doesn't] have time for human rights advocacy.” Rather it is life in capitalist America that requires individuals to support themselves. NYU’s extreme generosity has perhaps protected him from confronting this reality until now, but that level of largesse was never intended to continue indefinitely.//
Ms. Bekink, who stepped down as Mr. Chen’s adviser a month before giving birth to a son in November, concluded her statement by saying she respected “the many real challenges” the activist has overcome but added that the notion the activist faced a challenge in the form of Chinese pressure on NYU was “entirely fictional.”
NYU obtained the third of three key Chinese government approvals for the Shanghai campus in late October, NYU said, a few weeks after it told Mr. Chen it could not provide housing for him past June 2013. University spokesman John Beckman told The Wall Street Journal the timing was unrelated, saying NYU had “repeatedly indicated” that Mr. Chen’s presence and the Shanghai campus were separate matters.
NYU’s Shanghai program, which is expected to have around 300 Chinese and U.S. students, is scheduled to move into its permanent campus in 2014. The Shanghai program is a joint venture with Shanghai’s East China Normal University, which will host the first year of classes, and the district government of Pudong where the campus is being built.
People close to Mr. Chen have said the self-taught lawyer is being given advice by an entourage that includes Christian Chinese activists and other religious conservatives who are eager to for him to become a more outspoken critic of the government.
Others close to Mr. Chen, including Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R., N.J.), said NYU had made it difficult for them to have private meetings without school officials present.
Reggie Littlejohn, the founder and head of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, also said she had difficulty meeting with Mr. Chen privately when he first arrived at NYU.
NYU’s Mr. Beckman strongly denied that the school had constrained access to Mr. Chen at any time.
Mr. Smith said he talks regularly with Mr. Chen, along with Bob Fu, the head of ChinaAid, a Texas-based nonprofit group that provides support for underground house churches and victims of forced abortions in China. Mr. Smith called allegations that Mr. Chen has been co-opted by the Christian right “insulting,” including to Mr. Chen.
– Josh Chin, with contributions from Josh Dawsey.
2013 年 6 月 21 日 星期五
2013年 06月 20日 09:32
這位中國盲人活動人士週末說﹐他被迫離開紐約大學(New York University)是因為該校面臨來自中國方面的持續壓力﹐這與該校計劃在上海開設分校有關。去年春天﹐陳光誠在大膽逃脫軟禁後在該校獲得了訪問學者的職位。
這位名叫Mattie J. Bekink的陳光誠前特別顧問在發給《華爾街日報》(The Wall Street Journal)的聲明中稱﹐只不過就是陳光誠在紐約大學停留的期限到了﹐這個期限在很久以前就確定了﹐自他抵達美國後不久就一直瞭解此事。Bekink稱﹐自己知道此事是因為就是她告知陳光誠在紐約大學的停留期。
無償為陳光誠代言的公關公司Corallo Media Strategies Inc.的聯合創始人科拉洛(Mark Corallo)指出陳光誠在上週末發表了聲明﹐並說陳光誠暫時不作進一步評論。
據一位接近紐約大學管理層的人士透露﹐在前國務卿希拉里•克林頓(Hillary Clinton)的要求下﹐陳光誠得以來到紐約大學﹐該校法律教授孔傑榮(Jerome Cohen)也為他提供了幫助。紐約大學以及美國國務院前法律顧問高洪柱(Harold Hongju Koh)否認克林頓直接提出這個要求的說法。高洪柱說﹐是他與紐約大學進行的接觸。記者嘗試與克林頓取得聯繫﹐但沒有成功。高洪柱目前是耶魯大學(Yale University)法學院教授。
／／紐約大學對陳光誠堅定不移的支持明確顯示出它沒有受到中國政府的影響。正如紐約大學指出的﹐上海紐約大學獲批是在陳光誠已經被舒適地安置在格林威治村(Greenwich Village)的公寓中之後。如果該校把自己在中國的利益放在其致力於學術正直和學術自由的原則之上﹐那麼它當初就不會向陳光誠發出邀請。紐約大學也不是在受到壓力的情況下接納的陳光誠。眾所周知﹐在圍繞陳光誠離開中國一事進行磋商之際﹐他接到了其他機構的邀請﹐比如華盛頓大學(University of Washington)。紐約大學本可以輕易地躲開此事﹐所以該校對他的歡迎和持續的支持明確說明其在價值觀上沒有做出妥協。
紐約大學上海分校預計將擁有大約300名中國和美國學生﹐計劃將於2014年搬進永久校區。上海分校是紐約大學與上海的華東師范大學(East China Normal University)以及浦東區政府的聯合項目﹐華東師范大學將負責第一年的教學安排。上海分校的校區正在浦東新區施工。
女權無疆界(Women's Rights Without Frontiers)的創始人兼負責人利特爾約翰(Reggie Littlejohn)也說﹐陳光誠剛剛抵達紐約大學時﹐她很難與陳光誠私下見面。
史密斯說﹐他經常與陳光誠以及美國對華援助協會(China Aid Association)的負責人傅希秋(Bob Fu)交談。美國對華援助委員會是一家位於得克薩斯州的非營利組織﹐為地下的家庭教堂和中國被強制墮胎者提供支持。史密斯說﹐有關陳光誠受到基督教右派拉攏的說法既是對這些人的污蔑﹐也是對陳光誠的污蔑。