Chinese students abroad and the battle for their hearts

Source: SupChina (1/18/18)
Caught In A Crossfire: Chinese Students Abroad And The Battle For Their Hearts
China’s 800,000 overseas students represent a blind spot for the Communist Party in its ongoing battle against Western ideology. But many of them are returning home with more love and appreciation for their birth country than ever before.

When 22-year-old Chinese student Langou Lian looks back at her decision to study in the United States, there’s one influence that sticks out: the Disney Channel movie High School Musical.

“I hated Chinese education,” Lian says, remembering the high-pressure test-centered schooling in her native Sichuan Province. High School Musical presented an alternative: a carefree atmosphere where even adolescent students are independent, free to speak their mind, and have a palette of social activities to choose from.

But after she arrived in the U.S., that rosy Hollywood image became complicated. “The one word that describes my impression of America before coming is freedom,” Lian says. “[But] after I studied here for a while, I started to kind of understand American society. My impression went from good to bad.” Continue reading

How China infiltrated US classrooms

Nice article revisiting the ongoing expansion of the Confucius Institutes, though pretty much concerned with the US only–Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Politico (1/16/18)
How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms
Even as they face criticism, Chinese government-run educational institutes have continued their forward march on college campuses across the United States.

Last year, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte made an announcement to great fanfare: The university would soon open a branch of the Confucius Institute, the Chinese government-funded educational institutions that teach Chinese language, culture and history. The Confucius Institute would “help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world,” says Nancy Gutierrez, UNC Charlotte’s dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and “broaden the University’s outreach and support for language instruction and cultural opportunities in the Charlotte community,” according to a press release. Continue reading

Frost boy

Source: NYT (1/14/18)
‘Frost Boy’ in China Warms Up the Internet, and Stirs Poverty Debate
查看简体中文版  | 查看繁體中文版

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Frost Boy

BEIJING — On a bitterly cold morning this month, Wang Fuman, 8, set out for school as he usually did, walking 2.8 miles through mountains and streams until he reached the warmth of his third-grade classroom.

When Fuman arrived two hours later, his classmates erupted in laughter. The freezing temperatures had covered his hair, eyebrows and eyelashes with frost, making him look like a snowman. His cheeks were chapped and bright red. Continue reading

UT-Austin rejects Chinese funding

Posted by: Magnus Fiskesjö <>
Source: Washington Post (1/14/18)
University rejects Chinese Communist Party-linked influence efforts on campus
Josh Rogin

Tung Chee-hwa, then-chief executive of Hong Kong, in 2004. (Anat Givon/AP)

As part of a broad effort to interfere in U.S. institutions, China tries to shape the discussion at American universities, stifle criticism and influence academic activity by offering funding, often through front organizations closely linked to Beijing.

Now that aspect of Beijing’s foreign influence campaign is beginning to face resistance from academics and lawmakers. A major battle in this nascent campus war played out over the past six months at the University of Texas in Austin.

After a long internal dispute, a high-level investigation and an intervention by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the university last week rejected a proposal by the leader of its new China center to accept money from the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The Hong Kong-based foundation and its leader, Tung Chee-hwa, are closely linked to the branch of the Chinese Communist Party that manages influence operations abroad. Continue reading

Controversy over textbook censorship of the Cultural Revolution

Source: The Guardian (1/11/18)
Controversy over Chinese textbook’s Cultural Revolution chapter as state publisher denies censorship
Firm says title of chapter referring to period of massive social upheaval and violence in China changed to ‘Arduous Exploration and Development Achievements’
By Mandy Zuo

Changes made to a middle-school history textbook’s chapter on the Cultural Revolution have sparked controversy in China, with its state-run publisher denying it censored the book.

The furore came after a post widely shared on Chinese social media suggested that politically sensitive content about the political movement had been removed. The post showed photographs of the old version of the textbook and a revised text. The pictures appeared to show that a chapter formerly devoted to the Cultural Revolution had been taken out. Continue reading

China wants students to inherit ‘red gene’

Source: Sixth Tone (1/4/18)
China Wants Students to Inherit ‘Red Gene’
Jiangxi to roll out school textbooks reinforcing Communist Party’s revolutionary values.
By Cai Yiwen

Children wearing Red Army uniforms sing the Chinese national anthem in Linyi, Shandong province, Sept. 1, 2017. Du Yubao/VCG)

An eastern Chinese province wants its students to learn the Communist Party’s core values from an early age: kindergarten.

In August 2018, Jiangxi province will introduce a set of “red culture” textbooks at a wide range of educational institutions, from preschools and primary schools all the way up to vocational colleges and universities, local media reported Wednesday.

“Red culture” is a phrase often used to describe the Communist Party’s revolution, leading up to establishment of the modern People’s Republic and onward. Continue reading

Poetry and translation in times of censorship

Source: Critical Inquiry Blog (12/13/17)
Poetry and Translation in Times of Censorship; or, What Cambridge University Press and the Chinese Government Have in Common
By Jacob Edmond

What is lost in translation? It’s a perennial concern for someone like me, but it took on a new twist when I was recently asked to approve a Chinese translation of a review of Maghiel van Crevel’s book Chinese Poetry in Times of Mind, Mayhem and Money (2008). My review of the original English version appeared in The China Quarterly back in 2011, but I gave permission for it to be translated and published in China following the release of the Chinese translation of Van Crevel’s book, Jingshen yu jinqian shidai de Zhongguo shige 精神与金钱时代的中国诗歌 (2017). This Chinese version of my review will formally be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Modern Chinese Studies (现代中文学刊), but you can already read it here.

A translation of a review published as a review of the translation: the complexities only begin here. Readers of Chinese will already have noted the title change in the Chinese translation of Van Crevel’s book: “money” (金钱) and “mind” (精神) remain, but “mayhem” has disappeared. That omission also signals a larger one: the Chinese version lacks the chapter on “Exile,” which includes discussion of poems written by Bei Dao 北岛, Wang Jiaxin 王家新, and Yang Lian 杨炼 after the Chinese government’s violent 4 June 1989 suppression of dissent.

No one familiar with working and publishing in China will bat an eyelid at such changes. Yang Lian’s own collected poems were published in China with some works removed and the titles of others changed. “To A Nine-Year-Old Girl Who Died in the Massacre” (给一个大屠杀中死去的九岁女孩) became “To a Nine-Year-Old Girl Who Died Suddenly” (给一个猝死的九岁女孩). Journals and publishers that engage with China—The China Quarterly and its publisher, Cambridge University Press, among them—face a similar pressure to avoid sensitive topics in disseminating their work in the country. Continue reading

Chinese power and academic censorship

This somber article at one point cites Jeffrey Lehman, vice-chancellor of NYU Shanghai, as saying there’s been “no change” at NYU-Shanghai — even as China builds up its neo-Orwellian futuristic dystopy all around its campus … but, the Chinese authorities recently prohibited NYU’s own professor Kwame Anthony Appiah from visiting NYU-Shanghai to give a talk, see;;; — the latter article suggesting he’s never since been able to go, but remains prohibited from visiting NYUs campus.

His visa application was apparently ignored rather than rejected — in typical fashion. The university, in order to still feature him in the NYU Shanghai classes where his books have apparently been elevated as key texts of a cosmopolitan global-citizen ethos, was reduced to putting him on a spotty Skype connection. Not sure if he’s been skyping in ever since, but regardless, if blocking the visit of an invited speaker-teacher isn’t “reneging on the promise of academic freedom,” I don’t know what is (even in the bubble-format of NYU — where Skype may still work even as it is prohibited in China at large).

NYU’s acceptance of this punishment for such a famous scholar, for speaking his mind, hints quite obviously what will be accepted for anyone less famous than so. Going along, we will end up as accomplices in China’s new global anti-democracy project … Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Times Higher Education (12/7/17)
Chinese power ‘may lead to global academic censorship crisis’
Academic experts on China say the state may now issue demands in collaborations with Western universities
By Ellie Bothwell 
Twitter: @elliebothwell

China’s “new era” of increased global power poses a threat to academic freedom across the world and could result in global university leaders seeking to appease the country’s Communist Party, experts have warned. Continue reading

Otago City of Lit phd scholarships

Dear colleagues,

Please find below a call for applications for the 2018 University of Otago City of Literature PhD Scholarship. I am particularly interested in attracting excellent candidates working in English, Russian, and/or Chinese on topics relating to contemporary poetry, literature and new media, and comparative and global modernism. Please circulate the details below to anyone who might be interested. Thank you.

Best wishes,

Jacob Edmond

2018 University of Otago City of Literature PhD Scholarship: call for applications

The Department of English and Linguistics invites applications for the 2018 University of Otago City of Literature PhD Scholarship.

The Department of English and Linguistics welcomes applications for PhD projects across a broad range of areas ranging from medieval to digital literature. Department strengths include New Zealand and postcolonial literature, eighteenth-century literature, Romanticism, comparative literature, global modernism, cognitive approaches to literary studies, literature and language pedagogy, linguistic approaches to literature, contemporary poetry and fiction, creative writing, Irish and Scottish studies, the history of the book, and new media literature. For more information on the department, see: Continue reading

China closes school teaching women to be obedient

Source: BBC News (12/4/17)
China closes school ‘teaching women to be obedient’

File image


Chinese authorities have shut down an institute that was teaching women to be obedient and subordinate to men.

The education bureau said the institute, which claimed it taught “traditional virtues”, had violated socialist core values.

An online video showed lecturers speaking out against gender equality, while other advice to women included not fighting back when being beaten. Continue reading

Visiting scholars set up party branch at UC Davis (1)

Source: Quartz (11/21/17)
China’s Communist Party briefly had a chapter at a California university
By Echo Huang

Seven Chinese scholars visiting the University of California, Davis, set up a local chapter of China’s Communist Party to guard against the “corrosion” of western ideas—only to realize they had set up a potentially illegal organization under US law.

Mu Xingsen, a visiting thermal engineering scholar from China’s University of Dalian Technology, founded the party branch in early November—an act that Mu’s university praised as “setting an example for overseas party members.” The idea was to study party doctrine, including lessons from the just-concluded 19th Party Congress, according to the South China Morning Post, which first reported on the chapter. Continue reading

Teaching the Nanjing Atrocities

Source: Sup China (11/21/17)
Teaching the Nanjing Atrocities

If you’re a history or China studies teacher, you might be interested in two online seminars to be held next week by the nonprofit Facing History, on teaching about the Nanjing Atrocities: November 29 at 8 – 9 a.m. EST and November 30 at 3 – 4 p.m. EST. Facing History has also published a blog post on “Three reasons to explore the Nanjing Atrocities 80 years later.”

Challenges of leading an LGBT student society

Source: Sixth Tone (11/17/17)
The Challenges of Leading an LGBT Student Society in China
Student group head finds it difficult to openly debate gender and sexuality issues on campus, despite growing interest among peers.
By Zhang Han [Zhang Han is the pen name of the leader of the Z Society, a Chinese student society focusing on issues related to feminism, gender, and sexual minorities.]

In recent years, as Chinese attitudes surrounding sex have continued to evolve and people have become increasingly tolerant of sexual minorities, a wave of student groups relating to gender and sexuality have sprung up on Chinese campuses — “like bamboo shoots after a downpour,” as the popular Chinese idiom goes.

Of these, the Z Society at my university might be one of the oldest. Established in 2005, the Z Society focuses on issues pertaining to feminism and sexual minorities. Our goal is to make the campus — and even society as a whole — more egalitarian, harmonious, and tolerant. Since its inception, the Z Society has grown from a handful of students into a prominent organization of more than 300 members whose influence extends well beyond the campus. That said, we still face a number of challenges and a great deal of resistance. Continue reading

Visiting scholars set up party branch at UC Davis

Posted by: Magnus Fiskesjö <>
Source: China Scope
Chinese Visiting Scholars Setup CCP Party Branch at UC Davis

According to an article Duowei News published, on November 4, seven Chinese visiting scholars at the University of California Davis campus formed a Chinese Communist Party branch office on campus. The Dalian University of Technology news website published the news first but then deleted the news from its website. The Duowei article reported that these seven visiting scholars are teachers from seven different universities in China who are either existing party members or probationary party members. The party secretary is one of the teachers from Dalian University of Technology School of Power and Energy. The other six teachers came from Tsinghua University, Zhejiang University, Dalian University of Technology, Beijing Institute of Technology, Jiangsu University, Nanjing Agricultural University, and Hohai University. The branch office vows to “continue to recruit new members; organize the group to study the latest party theory and ideology from China; resist the corrosive influence from the west; and enable the members of the branch office and other Chinese patriotic people to experience warm caring from the party office.” The branch office will recruit new members starting with the existing members to target their colleagues or neighbors. They will also have one group activity every two weeks. The branch office is currently under the management of the Dalian University of Technology in China, which recommended that the branch get in touch with other party organizations in the U.S. that the Chinese communist Party has set up in order to seek leadership in the U.S.

Source: Duowei News, November 19, 2017

Carrico on Springer, Cambridge

Find below Kevin Carrico’s excellent essay comparing and reflecting on the responses to censorship by Cambridge and Springer–A. E. Clark <>

Source: China Policy Institute: Analysis (11/8/17)
A Tale of Two Publishers: Is censorship the new normal?
Written by Kevin Carrico

On August 18th of this year, news broke that Cambridge University Press was censoring over 300 articles from China Quarterly on its Chinese website. The deletions were requested by Beijing, based on indiscriminate keyword searches like “Tibet,” “Tiananmen,” and “Taiwan.” Media attention rapidly focused in on this censorship, academics penned open letters, and outrage spread quickly, engulfing Facebook, Twitter, and academic mailing lists with calls to boycott Cambridge University Press. Then, on August 21st, as these calls reached a crescendo three very long days later, Cambridge suddenly announced that it was reversing its decision, and would no longer comply with Beijing’s censorship requests. Continue reading