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China Change, August 21, 2018       Yang Shaozheng (杨绍政), a couple of months shy of 49, was for 11 years a professor of good standing in the College of Economics at Guizhou University. He taught game theory and advanced microeconomics, focused his research on optimization theory and mechanism design theory, and managed numerous provincial- and state-funded research projects. On August 15, however, Guizhou University made a decision to expel him for “long-running publication and spreading online of politically mistaken speech, writing a large number of politically harmful articles, and creating a deleterious influence on campus and in society.” He was also guilty of “being unrepentant” and refusing to accept “educational help.” Prior to this, last November, Yang was suspended from teaching and banned […]


Yaxue Cao, founder and editor of ChinaChange.org House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Hearing: Is Academic Freedom Threatened by China’s Influence on U.S. Universities? June 25, 2015 (This is an abbreviation of the full testimony)   Dear members of the Subcommittee, I’m pleased to have this opportunity to speak today about the Chinese government’s policies on joint higher education ventures, its mechanisms of controlling them, the Party’s presence in these ventures, and the regime’s severe suppression of academic freedom in Chinese universities. China’s national policies on joint ventures in higher education In 2003, China first issued the Regulation on Chinese-foreign Cooperative Education (《中华人民共和国中外合作办学条例 》) to set the rules for joint-venture higher education programs. Between 2004 and 2007, China issued several follow-up regulatory documents regarding the implementation […]


By Hu Shaojiang, published: February 10, 2015 Bring back thought policing……    Yesterday [January 29], the Chinese Minister of Education Yuan Guiren (袁贵仁) called in a conference for the implementation of “The Opinions on Further Strengthening and Improving Propaganda and Ideological Work in Higher Education under the New Circumstances,” a document recently issued by the General Office of the Communist Party of China and the State Council. Leaders of Education Bureaus in Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu as well as leaders of Peking University, Tsinghua University, Wuhan University, Shandong University, and Xiamen University attended the conference. Yuan Guiren’s speech is part of the Chinese government’s effort to re-ideologize Chinese higher education. In China, there was a time when universities were little more than the ideological mouthpieces of […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: February 5, 2015     A recent event prompted me to look into New York University Shanghai. I was rather surprised by what I found. This article pieces together my findings which include information available through the media as well as websites, in the spirit of “tossing out a brick hoping to attract a gem  (抛砖引玉).” If it can help deepen inquiries and debate about the host of issues that can arise from setting up university campuses in China, as more American universities are set to do, it will have more than served its purpose. “A Testing Field to Demonstrate Reform on International Cooperation in Chinese Higher Education” NYU Shanghai is a joint venture between East China Normal University (ECNU) and […]


By Fengsuo Zhou, Yaxue Cao, published: November 4, 2014   We did not foresee writing this letter. We didn’t think it was necessary. All we need to do, we thought, is to present facts to the public, including the Wellesleyans. And we thought that truth is the only thing that matters, and that, before racism and McCarthyism become issues, the first order should be to find out what happened. Let us introduce ourselves first. Fengsuo was a senior and physics major at Tsinghua University in Beijing in 1989. During the Tiananmen democracy movement, Fengsuo told the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on May 30, 2014, “I was responsible for setting up a student network that directed the protesters on Tiananmen Square, provided medical services to thousands […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: October 26, 2014 Almost a year ago, I posted a report titled “Why Is a Math Professor at Wellesley So Hard Hitting against an Economics Professor Fired by Peking University in China” on this website. This week, on October 22, the story entered a second season when the math professor in question – Professor Charles Bu – posted the article I Am Not a Communist Spy in The Wellesley News. On October 23, Thomas Cushman, Professor of Sociology and Director of Wellesley’s Freedom Project, posted in the same paper a rebuttal, On Charles Bu’s Falsehoods, in response to Professor Bu’s accusations against Cushman. I am also among the people accused by Professor Bu of participating in a “McCarthy-style witch hunt.” The following is […]


By Fengsuo Zhou, Yaxue Cao, published: June 11, 2014 Henry Degroot is a student at Newton North High School, Massachusetts. He wrote a pro-democracy note in a Chinese student’s notebook during an exchange program in Beijing and signed it. A Chinese teacher found out. Henry was detained for five hours, forced to apologize by his American teachers, and, back to America, the school barred him from prom.   As two naturalized Chinese Americans and democracy advocates, we feel compelled to offer our perspectives on Boston Globe’s recent story Newton student penalized for democracy notes in China. Fengsuo Zhou was a student leader during the Tian’anmen Square democracy movement in 1989, No.5 on Chinese government’s wanted list when the movement was crushed by tanks and machine […]


 By Xu Youyu, published: May 24, 2014   Dear Editor, In late 2012, on behalf of the Louis Green Lecture committee of Monash University, I invited Professor Xu Youyu, who I had never met before, to fly to Australia to deliver a public lecture. My recommendation of Prof Xu to the Committee was simply out of profound admiration for his outstanding scholarship as well as his moral integrity. In early this month, together with several other highly respectable intellectuals, Prof Xu was “criminally detained” by the Chinese authorities for holding a private workshop in the memory of the Tiananmen Tragedy that took place 25 years ago. It is sadly ironic that Prof Xu was arrested virtually on the same day as President Xi Jinping’s celebration […]


By Ilham Tohti, published: April 6, 2014   On January 15, 2014, Chinese authorities arrested Ilham Tohti, a Uighur economics professor at the prestigious Minzu University in Beijing. Authorities formally charged him with separatism on February 25, and have so far denied him access to his attorney. For years, Tohti has discussed and commented on not only Chinese policies in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, where the vast majority of this Turkic Muslim population lives, but also the state of Han-Uighur relations. He founded the Chinese-language website 维吾尔在线 (Uighur Online), which is meant to facilitate communication and understanding between the two peoples. The PEN American Center has recently named Ilham as the 2014 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award winner. The following autobiographic essay, written in January, 2011, provides a much-needed portrait of the man. […]


By Yaxue Cao, published: November 25, 2013   To be sure, there is nothing wrong about a math professor—or a marine biologist, an astronaut, an alchemist, for that matter–speaking out against Professor Xia Yeliang, defending Peking University’s decision to fire the professor of Economics who “happens to be” a dissident and a critic of the communist regime, and lashing out at his Wellesley colleagues for their support of professor Xia. For those of you who have not been following news from China that closely, here is a quick review of the Professor Xia Yeliang Incident: Professor Xia is a professor of economics at Peking University. On October 18, the university notified him that a faculty committee voted not to renew his contract. Professor Xia’s firing […]


China halts U.S. academic freedom at the class door, from Bloomberg, was the better of two excellent pieces this week on the topic of joint-managed colleges in China (the other being No academic freedom for China). This piece generated a lot of discussion about education, and one friend who actually studies at the school mentioned that the article should have also examined discussions in the classrooms that are actually much freer than she had expected. Hepatitis C outbreak hits Anhui, Henan, from Caixin, is an in depth look at how lax regulations and the recycling of used needles at local clinics led to over 110 people being infected. Supposedly this problem was fixed nearly a decade ago. This coming out near World AIDS Day is a […]


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