China Attacks Academic Freedom

English: China, Peking
English: China, Peking (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

China Attacks Academic Freedom

Shouldn’t this case cast a little doubt on so many American Universities’ desire to build branches in China? Won’t they insist on running schools in their country they way they run the current ones?

After all, they are communists who run a dictatorship.

Yes, that is not a nice thing to say, and the fact that literally thousands of American corporations are aiding and abetting this regime is regrettable but under free market fundamentalism perfectly understandable.

I mean, does it really matter if the nation is an enemy of democracy when there is money to be made?

The business ethics implications are fascinating but largely undiscussed. For all you students out there, this is primo paper territory. If you want to write something controversial, this is where to go. Think of it, business ethics and American Investment in the Chinese economy. If I were you, I would start the story by going back to China just a few years after the Great Cultural Revolution as its economy lurched from one disaster to another. Start the story there and then begin the American involvement, investment and then sharing patents and partnerships. Compare job losses in the U.S. to job gains in China. Discuss the willingness of the Chinese government to simply not bother with environmental and worker safety problems. Put in some material on a couple of the bigger coal mine disasters. Faculty love stories. Then, when you reach the end, wonder out loud if the regime could have survived with American corporate money. I bet it’s a solid A. (If you would like to see it published once it is written, send me an e-mail – we can work something out!)

James Pilant

SHANGHAI: China’s Peking University fires professor who criticized government | Asia | McClatchy DC

One of China’s top universities has notified an economics professor known for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government that his colleagues have voted to expel him from the institution.The move against Xia Yeliang, who teaches at Peking University in Beijing, appears to reflect a crackdown on liberal academics that’s become more severe since President Xi Jinping came to power in March.Several well-known universities – including the London School of Economics and Yale and Cornell in the United States – have partnerships with Peking, though few have taken up Xia’s cause. Other institutions, including New York University and Duke University, have opened campuses in China recently or are about to amid worries that they’ll sacrifice academic freedom for the sometimes lucrative opportunity to partner with Chinese institutions.

via SHANGHAI: China’s Peking University fires professor who criticized government | Asia | McClatchy DC.

From around the web.

From the web site, educhina.

April 9th, 2012, as usual, after raising the national flag and singing the anthem, the students in Huilong middle school stayed in square, listening to the weekly speech under the national flag by a selected outstanding student. They all knew it was a routine that every Monday, school had this assembly, so did most of the schools in other parts of China. And the speech, always presented by disciplined peers with excellent academic performance, was basically the same each week that about hard-working, obedient, respecting schools, teachers and parents etc. Thus, no one would pay attention to the speech but hoping the ceremony could end earlier. However, students, also teachers, soon realized today’s speech was different when they heard “we are not machine, even if we are, school should not treat us as tools to improve the enrollment rate of universities”. The senior two honorary student, Chenbo Jiang, was emotionally criticizing the school system and Chinese education. He continued: “what we are fighting for, under this education system, and what kind of people we will become?” He blamed the education deprived their dreams and turned them into indifferent people who only cared about the scores; he blamed parents blindly forced them to study all the time while neglected their true feeling and failed to give enough care and love; he blamed the teachers for pushing them so hard in doing endless homework in order to increase the enrollment rate of universities that few students actually loved and respected their teachers. Everyone stunned for a while and then students started to applaud. Some teachers were laughing and some were in shock. The school principal was so surprised because the draft of the speech had to be examined by the teachers every time before the students went up to the stage. This should not happen.

The news quickly spread out through internet with the titles like “high school student changes the speech under the national flag” or “high school student criticizes education system” and caused heated discussion among Chinese netizens in Sina microblog as well as in other social networking sites. Many people thought Chenbo Jiang was courageous to speak out the “truth” and they agreed that Chinese education was problematic. On April 20th, 2012, Nanfang People’s magazine, an influential weekly magazine of Southern China Press, published a commentary on this event. The report compares Chenbo Jiang to the boy in The Emperor’s New Clothes who points out the truth that no one wants to acknowledge.