A disturbing report from Bloomberg about several elite U.S. universities not standing up to Chinese suppression of academic research freedom and free speech:
They call themselves the “Xinjiang 13.” They have been denied permission to enter China, prohibited from flying on a Chinese airline and pressured to adopt China- friendly views. To return to China, two wrote statements disavowing support for the independence movement in Xinjiang province.
They aren’t exiled Chinese dissidents. They are American scholars from universities, such as Georgetown and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have suffered a backlash from China unprecedented in academia since diplomatic relations resumed in 1979. Their offence was co-writing “Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland,” a 484-page paperback published in 2004.
“I wound up doing the stupidest thing, bringing all of the experts in the field into one room and having the Chinese take us all out,” said Justin Rudelson, a college friend of U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and former senior lecturer at Dartmouth College, who helped enlist contributors to the book and co-wrote one chapter.
The sanctions, which the scholars say were imposed by China’s security services, have hampered careers, personal relationships and American understanding of a large, mineral- rich province where China has suppressed separatist stirrings. Riots and attacks in Xinjiang in July left about 40 people dead.
In the race to embrace China’s riches the leaders of elite U.S. academic institutions (who should know better) seem to have forgotten that China is run by a brutal, freedom-suppressing dictatorship. Yet Stanford, the University of Chicago, Duke and NYU have or are in the process of building branch campuses in mainland China. Have many of the U.S.’s best universities forgotten that history has not looked kindly on those who have cozied-up to regimes like China’s current one?
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