Understanding China, One Blog at a Time

An American in China

Chinese Professors Dictating Policy in US Universities

Posted by w_thames_the_d on January 29, 2014

The Chinese are not content with only fouling up this dunghill-China, but they want to ruin our lives as well. Some Chinese profs, who are fortunate enough to live with real humans in the USA, are bitching and trying to dictate policy at US universities.

They are pissed that the US schools would even consider backing a Chinese prof who had bad things to say about the motherland and they attacked him. Why these profs are so fervent in backing a country they tried so forcefully to leave is anyone’s guess. I suppose they know how cruel and ignorant these people are and thus the profs figure the Chinese who are left here deserve what they get.

What is sad is that these profs are now telling our universities how to interface with China. America is for sale and the immigrating chicoms are buying.


Economist Xia Yeliang was expelled from Peking University for his outspoken political views.
Credit: Voice of America.View full size image
In that spirit, a group of seven Wellesley faculty members from different disciplines invited Xia to come to Wellesley College in July 2013. We had heard of his difficulties with the regime in China: he was a drafter and signer of Charter 08, the foundational document of the modern human rights movement in China, and was an outspoken critic of the regime.

At the time of his visit, he was under intense pressure to renounce his political views and activities and keep quiet. Soon after he left, the seven faculty members drafted an open letter to the president of Peking University, asking that the university not fire Xia. It was signed by 140 Wellesley faculty members, and expressed the view that we would call for a reconsideration of the partnership if Xia’s position was terminated.

Xia was fired in September, as expected. The grounds were that he was a “bad teacher”, though there was no publicly available evidence that this was so, and Xia himself did not even have access to his student evaluations. No scholar of his standing had ever been released for bad teaching.

Before his break with the regime, he was regularly called on to appear in official news outlets. It was as clear a case as one could imagine of political repression of dissent. This was confirmed by a memorandum sent in August 2013 to Xia by the party secretary in charge of the School of Economics.

The memo (now public) threatened Xia with expulsion if he did not retract his public criticisms of the party, cease his activities with civil society associations, and keep his mouth shut in the future. The memorandum said nothing about teaching.

Xia’s story took a Kafkaesque turn at this point. A small, but resolute, faction of faculty members at Wellesley College began a negative campaign against him. The cornerstone of this campaign was amplification of the party’s argument that Xia’s termination was due to “bad teaching”. In one case, one of Wellesley’s China experts (who had actually been a principal author of the letter on Xia’s behalf), changed course and claimed that he had “evidence” that proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Xia was fired for bad teaching. Inexplicably, he stated that he could not share this.

Another faculty member, a Chinese national with strong ties to China, repeated that charge. He also claimed the faculty signatories were ignorant about China. A professor of English with no expertise in China railed in the college’s Academic Council about faculty support of Xia as a form of “cultural imperialism”, claiming that “academic freedom” was a Western value not to be imposed on China.

Yet another English professor chimed in with the accusation that we were engaged in “orientalism”. Still others turned on Xia when they discovered that he would be supported as a visiting scholar at Wellesley by funds from a foundation with libertarian, free-market inclinations (an article praising Xia in the Wall Street Journal did not help his case).

What can we learn from this that has general relevance for professors who work at institutions that have relationships with China? Certainly people had the right to have any view whatsoever of Xia. One would expect, though, that progressive, critical intellectuals in academe would support academic freedom and civil society or, at worst, fall into the default mode of indifference


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: