BEIJING — Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng, who was allowed to travel to the United States after escaping from house arrest, said Monday that New York University is forcing him and his family to leave at the end of this month because of pressure from the Chinese government. However, the university denied Chen’s allegations.
Chen said in a statement that China’s Communist Party had been applying ‘‘great, unrelenting pressure’’ on NYU to ask him to leave, though he did not provide details or evidence to back his assertion. Chen said Beijing’s authoritarian government has significant influence on the American academic community.
‘‘The work of the Chinese Communists within academic circles in the United States is far greater than what people imagine, and some scholars have no option but to hold themselves back,’’ he said. ‘‘Academic independence and academic freedom in the United States are being greatly threatened by a totalitarian regime.’’
NYU officials called Chen’s account puzzling, saying that his fellowship was meant to be a one-year position and had simply concluded as planned, and that school officials have been talking with him for months about what his next step might be.
Chen sparked a diplomatic crisis between China and the United States last year when he fled to the US Embassy in Beijing from house arrest.
Since last May, he had been a special student at NYU’s US-Asia Law institute. NYU spokesman John Beckman said the conclusion of Chen’s fellowship had nothing to do with the Chinese government.