Washington D.C., Jun 19, 2013 / 16:22 pm
Amid reports that blind pro-life activist Chen Guangcheng is being asked to leave New York University, some human rights defenders are worried that the decision may have been influenced by the Chinese government.
"I have worked on other high-profile human rights cases just like this, and I've never known a case to bring such a high-profile, world-class human rights defender, and say 'your time is up,'" Rep. Chris Smith (R- N.J.) told CNA, adding that the university's actions bear "the hallmarks of pressure."
While New York University officials say that the fellowship offered to Chen was always intended to be temporary, the pro-life activist said that the Chinese government exerted pressure on the university after he began speaking out on human rights abuses in his home country.
Blind since childhood, Chen became a self-taught human rights lawyer and drew the attention of Chinese officials for his work in opposing forced abortions and sterilizations under the government's one-child policy.