Chinese cash at American colleges

Source: Sup China (8/23/17)
Chinese cash at American colleges is a massive problem
The “success story” of U.S.-China engagement through higher education is in crisis. Big time.
By John Pomfret

Harvard University’s campus

Ruobing came to America last spring on a special program at the University of California, Berkeley, to study English. After a semester, her English hadn’t really improved. Over a coffee at a Berkeley café, she struggled to express herself in English and then switched into her native Mandarin.

“I spend my free time with Chinese, my countrymen,” she said. “There are so many Chinese students here that we don’t really need to get to know Americans. And that means our English remains poor.” Continue reading

10 museums in 10 days

Source: NYT (8/23/17)
10 Museums in 10 Days? A Chinese Start-Up (Virtually) Gives Children a Tour

A guide from the Aha School in Shanghai introducing viewers in China to the works of French Impressionists at the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. Credit Aha School

HONG KONG — Last weekend: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence and the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. By Wednesday: the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, the Museum of Modern Artin New York and the German Historical Museum in Berlin.

And that’s just the half of it.

Children from more than 180,000 Chinese households are on a virtual tour this week of 10 famous museums. The two-hour daily broadcasts combine slick animations, clips from Chinese presenters’ recent trips to the museums and live-streamed commentary from Chinese academics in a Shanghai studio. Continue reading

Cambridge UP reverses itself

Hooray. Cambridge decided their reputation was more important… But, no word on their reported self-censorship of 1000 Cambridge ebooks. Anyhow, maybe now more people can stand up to China’s government’s attempts to force their cowardly censorship regime onto others.

See too:

Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: BBC News (8/21/17)
Cambridge University Press reverses China censorship move

Part of Cambridge

Image copyright PA

Cambridge University Press, the world’s oldest publishing house, has reversed a decision to censor content in China.

The publisher had agreed to suppress access to hundreds of its own articles that dealt with subjects sensitive to the Chinese authorities, such as those about the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The Chinese had said that if CUP did not censor content, it would not be able to publish other material in China.

It changed its mind after protests. Continue reading

Cambridge UP caves to Chinese censorship (3)

I am getting inundated with queries about whether AAS realizes that the Journal of Asian Studies is a Cambridge University Press publication, asking if we have been censored in China, etc.  AAS is working on a response; something will likely go out on #AsiaNow today.  I have tweeted about this and am sharing those tweets with MCLC as follows:

JAS is a CUP publication but as far as I know access to our content in China has not changed. Tweets aren’t ideal for discussion but..

(re JAS) CUP is being pressed as it was re CQ, but AAS is determined to prevent the same thing happening to our content (stay tuned)

Thanks much,

Jeff Wasserstrom <>

Cambridge UP caves to Chinese censorship (2)

Completely agree. CUP statements on this are very puzzling. They seem to think that a little is better than none. That applies to food, water and money. Not to freedom to publish all academic content of merit.

CUP has no particular commercial need to do this. One can only hypothesize a sticky idea that everybody has to be “in” China.

Even if they had a commercial need to do this, it would be a poor bargain to trade the historic reputation of CUP for academic quality and integrity for a reputation as a cowardly, opportunistic hack press that either doesn’t understand basic issues of free inquiry or hopes its readers won’t. Again, they seem to think a little integrity is better than none. Wrong again.

What CUP has to be “in” is the complete confidence of scholarly communities everywhere –including China. They can remain an outlet for scholarship from China without having their own outlets in China –in fact, it might be the only way to do so. They have chosen the shortest possible path to discreditation. Let’s hope they reconsider and continue to be the real Cambridge University Press.

Pamela Crossley <>

Cambridge UP caves to Chinese censorship (1)

Hi, I think we academics — upon whom the independent reviews and facilitation of publication of work in China Quarterly as well as for the Press depend — cannot continue to support CUP. Jim Millward wrote a great piece, appended below, pointing out how CUP’s craven cave to PRC censorship effectively by-passes exactly those scholarly apparatuses in which we participate.

This cannot be allowed to become or remain our new normal.

Rebecca Karl <>

Cambridge UP caves to Chinese censorship

Cambridge University Press has caved to Chinese censorship demand by blocking hundreds of CUP publications in China, so as to be able to sell other “tame” content there. This has rightfully garnered quite a lot of attention today since it amounts to a new form of blatant political deletion of articles and books on China written by serious academics, and CUP deserves criticism for it.

–I myself wrote a comment in a thread on this over at H-Asia ( where I addressed the naive defense CUP has mounted, including about how China has joined the IPA, the International Publishing Association, as if this would help change China for the better. On the contrary, it might change the IPA by eroding its commitment to freedom of publishing around the world. I mentioned one example of this, the incident last month in which the Chinese publisher’s association, supposedly independent of its government (which is a condition of IPA membership), blatantly tried to coerce the IPA to withdraw a nominee for consideration for the IPA’s main freedom of publishing award, the Voltaire Prize, thus breaking IPA rules. This attempt was uncovered by Swedish media in late July (and was not widely elsewhere, other than in Germany, as far as I know).

On the Cambridge University Press academic self-censorship issue, see too:


Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Massive peer-reviewed fraud

Source: Science (7/31/17)
China cracks down after investigation finds massive peer-review fraud
By Dennis Normile

Springer retracted 107 papers from Tumor Biology in April. Emily Petersen

A massive peer-review fraud has triggered a tough response from the Chinese government. Officials last week announced that more than 400 researchers listed as authors on some 100 now-retracted papers will face disciplinary action because their misconduct has seriously damaged China’s scientific reputation.

Some institutions have barred the scientists linked to the fraud from pursuing their research—at least temporarily. And they have imposed other penalties, including canceling promotions, honors, and grants. Government ministries have also announced new “zero tolerance” policies aimed at stamping out research fraud. “We should eradicate the problem from its roots,” said He Defang, director of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s (MOST’s) regulatory division in Beijing. Continue reading

China’s made-up masculinity crisis (1)

RE: 男孩危機: “To prepare for the examinations a boy began at age seven or so and in about six years memorized the 4 books and 5 classics, which totaled 431,000 characters…memoriz[ing] a passage of 200 characters a day…The examination system took a man over a dozen hurdles in the space of 20 or 30 years.  Those who emerged from it had lived an examination life so concentrated on the classical literature that they had made themselves a race apart.  Scholars were typically unmuscular, aesthetically refined, and spoke a language intelligible only to their kind, a small elite trained in the principles of bureaucratic government” (Fairbank, The Great Chinese Revolution: 1800-1985: 28, 27).

Nick Kaldis <>

China’s made-up masculinity crisis

Source: Sixth Tone (7/30/17)
‘Save Our Boys’: China’s Made-up Masculinity Crisis
Critics, parents, and educators all claim that China’s schoolboys aren’t manly enough, without seeing the gender bias in their arguments.
By Zeng Yuli (Zeng Yuli is a freelance writer focusing on Chinese youth culture)

Students take part in eye exercises at a high school classroom in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, June 4, 2007. Xiao En/VCG

China’s annual college entrance examination, the gaokao, took place last month. Although many provincial ministries of education discourage people from drawing attention to the nation’s top scorers, such admonitions cannot completely quash public interest. People are curious about not only the identities of the top scorers, but also gender: Are the girls scoring higher, or the boys?

According to statistics published online, over the last 40 years of gaokao examinations, boys accounted for 56 percent of all top scorers in China’s 31 provinces. At first glance, this would imply that boys generally have the edge over girls. However, if we look at statistics from just the last decade, the proportion of female top scorers jumps to 53 percent, giving them a clear majority. Continue reading

Chinese threat to Australian openness

Source: NYT (7/31/17)
The Opinion Pages: OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
A Chinese Threat to Australian Openness

Students in a university classroom in Beijing. Credit in Pictures Ltd./Corbis, via Getty Images

SYDNEY, Australia — Australians are increasingly concerned about China’s growing influence in the country. Chinese money is being funneled to politicians. Beijing-run media outlets buy ads in Australian newspapers to promote the Communist Party view on local and regional issues. Chinese companies are buying Australian farms and natural resources.

The push extends to Australia’s universities. Chinese agents are said to monitor Chinese students and report on those who fail to toe the Communist Party line. And in another troubling trend, many of the 150,000 visiting Chinese students are importing a pro-Beijing approach to the classroom that is stifling debate and openness. Continue reading

High school pupils make LGBT film

Source: SCMP (7/24/17)
Chinese high school pupils make a film tackling LGBT issues
Team of 37 youngsters produces, directs and stars in movie designed to raise public awareness of ‘widely ignored’ group
By Eva Li

A group of high school students in Beijing has made a film about the life of a transgender boy in a bid to raise public awareness of the issue, local media reported.

The 75-minute production, titled Flee, tells the story of Zhang Wangan, a high school-age boy who thinks of himself as a girl, as he tries to come to terms with his emotions with the help of his friends, Beijing Youth Daily reported. Continue reading

Films and literature on formal education (1,2)

I think the novel Triple Door (三重门) by Han Han may be a good choice, though it hasn’t been translated into English.

Laura Lettere <>


I can suggest ‘Village Middle School’ a documentary by Tammy Cheung:

It is a fly-on-the-wall documentary about the life in this school.

Sophia Woodman <>

Migrant children losing their schools

Source: Caixin (7/10/17)
Migrant Children Losing Their Schools
By Huang Ziyi and Li Rongde

In Beijing's Changping district, many schools that are open to migrant children are being forced to move as the municipality slates the illegal structures for demolition. Some school officials still do not know where their schools will move to, or even if they will be open at all. Photo: Huang Ziyi/Caixin

In Beijing’s Changping district, many schools that are open to migrant children are being forced to move as the municipality slates the illegal structures for demolition. Some school officials still do not know where their schools will move to, or even if they will be open at all. Photo: Huang Ziyi/Caixin

(Beijing) — Thousands of children from rural migrant families may be in education limbo after the summer holidays as their schools face imminent closure amid a government crackdown on slums in Beijing’s Changping district.

Zhiquan school in the village of Dongsanqi, which has classes from grades one through six, has been earmarked for demolition at the end of July, said Qin Jijie, the school’s principal. The cleanup that affects hundreds of villages on the fringes is part of a plan to increase the forest cover surrounding the city, according to Beijing municipal authorities. Continue reading

Why overseas academics are loath to return to China

Source: Sixth Tone (7/3/17)
Why China’s Overseas Academics Are Loath to Return Home
With more favorable advancement opportunities at Western universities, China must re-evaluate how it plans to bring its best and brightest back.
By Nina Huang, a journalist based in New York City.

A Chinese Ph.D. student talks to employers at a job fair in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, Oct. 24, 2009. An Xin/VCG

For overseas Chinese Ph.D. students on the fence about whether they should return home for a faculty position or stay abroad, the rigidity of China’s higher education institutions often spooks them into choosing the latter.

Thirty-five-year-old Chen Weiqiang, now an assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at New York University (NYU), would have loved to go back to his alma mater, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, for a faculty position. But he gave up an offer of an associate professor’s position in 2014 when he learned about the structure of promotion there. Continue reading