The blind Chinese activist recently let go by the American university that offered him a fellowship had been presented with electronics loaded with spying software, Reuters reported Friday.
New York University technicians found software designed to spy on Cheng Guangcheng loaded on an iPad and smartphone gifted to the dissident after he arrived in Manhattan, his mentor, NYU Professor Jerome Cohen, told Reuters.
The devices, given to Guangcheng by the wife of fellow Chinese activist-in-exile Bob Fu, were screened by technicians within days of their receipt. An unnamed source told Reuters the technicians found secret GPS software on one of the devices, which gave it tracking device capabilities, as well as software that backed up the device's contents to a remote server. Although Cohen and the unnamed source believe the software was installed deliberately, Reuters could not establish whether there may be a more innocent explanation for its presence.
Fu told Reuters the allegations were "ridiculous" and "a 007 thing."
The spyware incident surfaced soon after Guangcheng accused NYU of ending his fellowship over pressure from China, where it is opening a campus in Shanghai this fall. NYU has denied that allegation and claims Guangcheng's fellowship was only slated to last a year.