Chen Guangcheng, the Chinese political dissident who claims he is being booted from his post at New York University because the always expansion-minded school is trying to curry favor with China’s government, is using Republican media strategist Mark Corallo for PR support.
NYU scored points on the human rights front a year ago when it offered self-taught lawyer Chen free housing, English lessons and a position after he escaped China via help by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Chen alleges the Chinese government put "unrelenting pressure" on NYU, which pines for an outpost in Shanghai, to oust him.
NYU denies any kowtowing to China, saying it never agreed to support the dissident beyond a year.
The school also notes that China had already approved the Shanghai campus after it reached out to the campaigner against forced abortions.
Chen also took a shot at embattled NYU president John Sexton, who was featured on the front page of the New York Times today for accepting a $1M loan from a NYU foundation for a vacation home on Fire Island.
In thanking NYU for past assistance to aid his “smooth transition” to the U.S., Chen expressed regret that he never had the chance to thank Sexton personally.
"NYU has arranged many of our activities, to date, it has not arranged a meeting for us with the president," said Chen in a statement.
Chen is considering an offer from Fordham Law School.
Corallo, who heads Corallo Media Strategies in Alexandria, Va., served as PA director at the Justice Dept. under John Ashcroft.
He was press secretary for Congressman Bob Livingston through the House Speaker-designation for an extramarital affair. He also did PR work for Karl Rove, a top counselor for President George W. Bush.
Chen also is getting support from the Midland, Tex.-headquartered China Aid Assn., which is backed by evangelicals and pledges to walk with the "persecuted faithful" in its effort to support religious freedom in China.