Sycophants in parent-teacher WeChat groups

Source: Sup China (11/2/17)
Sycophants in parent-teacher WeChat groups
By Jiayun Feng

“This is nothing new. When I was a kid, my parents sent gifts to teachers just to make sure I was taken good care of. The only thing new about this phenomenon is that we now have WeChat, which makes it easier for parents to flatter teachers.”

“Here is my simple solution. Instead of wasting my time on these groups, I just give cash and presents to teachers in private. No one would decline money. This is the reality you need to accept.”

From Weibo (in Chinese)

Few things are more excruciating than being a parent in China. You need to risk your health to help your kid with their homework. You are very likely to spend a large chunk of your income on a variety of extravagant summer student programs. Meanwhile, to prevent discrimination against your child, you can’t afford to lag behind when it comes to flattering their teachers, both online and off. Continue reading

Springer also censors (1, 2)

I also think we should all boycott these kowtowing publishers, incl. Springer, Springer Nature, & Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American which they own, and not review anything for any of those, until they change. I take it that Cambridge reversed its policy and so should Springer.

–I was writing something for a Springer encyclopedia, but I will now move to withdraw that, if they do not change policy.

The article

… says among other things, that: “Springer Nature, the German group that bills itself the world’s largest academic book publisher” [and which owns Palgrave Macmillan and Scientific American], “has blocked access in China to at least 1,000 articles, making it the latest international company to succumb to intensifying Chinese censorship demands. Research by the Financial Times shows the publisher has removed more than 1,000 articles from the websites of the Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, two Springer journals, in the Chinese market. All of the articles in question contained keywords deemed politically sensitive … Springer said in a statement that it had blocked access to “a small percentage of our content (less than 1 per cent)” in mainland China but that the articles remained available elsewhere. … It said it was obliged to comply with “local distribution laws”, which are enforced by its partner, the state-owned China National Publications Import & Export Corporation…”


Magnus Fiskesjö <>


fyi, we just called for a peer review boycott of Springer Nature and Palgrave Macmillan social science and humanities journals on the website of our boycott petition. This is a great opportunity to sign our petition if folks haven’t done so already:

Charlene Makley
Professor of Anthropology
Reed College

Springer also censors

More academic censorship, this time from Springer. Very interesting findings by Ben Bland.

FT seems to have a unique format such that I can’t copy and paste the article. But good journalism, after all, deserves our clicks.

For scholars outraged by these practices, please consider signing this petition on refusing to review or write for any publisher who censors content for market access-

Taking such a stand is the only way to end these unfortunate practices, which disrespect authors, reviewers, and Chinese readers.

Kevin Carrico <>

Little Soldiers excerpt

Posted by: Nick Kaldis <>
Source: The Sinocism China Newsletter (10/29/17)
By Bill Bishop

I am really happy to have as part of the very occasional Sinocism book series an excerpt from Lenora Chu’s new book Little Soldiers: An American Boy, A Chinese School and the Global Race to Achieve.

Chinese American journalist Lenora Chu spent years chronicling her son’s journey inside China’s state-run school system, alongside that of two Shanghai high school students and a family from Anhui. Altogether, these stories touch upon issues including China’s rural-urban divide, attempts at education reform, systemic corruption and the heavy pressure around study—as well as positive aspects of Chinese education culture including teacher respect and high expectations around math learning.

Little Soldiers has been described as a “must-read,” “revealing, fascinating, and filled with ‘aha’ moments,” and a “particularly transparent window [onto China]” by reviewers including the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post and South China Morning Post.

Below is an excerpt from a chapter about political thought control, a topic that seems increasingly relevant now that we have entered the Xi Era.

“Xi Da Da is a good person”

How keenly do Chinese students understand the Party’s attempts to indoctrinate?

From the back of a Shanghai high school classroom in 2014, I observed Teacher Qiu attempt a lesson on civics, only to detect a tension between ideology and reality. Continue reading

Observations on censorship from Critical Asian Studies

Interesting and disturbing observations on recent Chinese censorship from the journal Critical Asian Studies director, editors, and authors, who (strangely) cite Lenin(!) as an opponent of censorship:

–Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö,

Source: CRITICAL ASIAN STUDIES VOL. 49, NO. 4 (2017), 479–480
Director and editors’ note on censorship

We recently were informed that two articles previously published in Critical Asian Studies have been republished in China without the permission of the authors, CAS, or our publisher, Taylor & Francis. Moreover, both of these unauthorized versions were severely edited of any material that might be deemed politically sensitive in the People’s Republic of China. The two articles are Claudia Pozzana and Alessandro Russo’s “China’s New Order and Past Disorders: A Dialogue Starting from Wang Hui’s Analysis,” Critical Asian Studies 38:3 (September 2006), pages 329–351, and “Continuity/Discontinuity: China’s Place in the Contemporary World,” Critical Asian Studies 43:2 (June 2011), pages 261–284. Pozzana and Russo’s 2006 article was censored and reprinted in 区域 [Remapping], Volume 4 (2015), edited by Wang Hui and published by the Social Sciences Academic Press of China [Zhonguo Shehui Kexue Xueshu Chubenshe] for the Tsinghua Institute of Advanced Studies. Their 2011 article appears in an unauthorized form in Understanding China’s Vision: Wang Hui’s Academic Thought and Commentary [Lijie Zhongguo de Shiye: Wang Hui Xueshu Sixiang Pinglunji], edited by Zhang Xiang and published by the Oriental Press [Dongfang Chubanshe] in 2014. Continue reading

Xi Jinping thought into children’s brains

Source: SCMP (10/23/17)
‘Into the brains’ of China’s children: Xi Jinping’s ‘thought’ to become compulsory school topic
Textbooks to be updated and teachers trained to incorporate president’s ideology into class curriculum
By Viola Zhou

The political ideology of Chinese President Xi Jinping will become part of the school curriculum once it is incorporated into the Communist Party’s constitution. Photo: Bloomberg

Chinese schoolchildren will soon be studying President Xi Jinping’s political ideology after it becomes official Communist Party dogma later this week.

Education Minister Chen Baosheng said the new ideology, unveiled at the start of the party’s national congress last week, would be incorporated into curriculums across the country. “[The thought will] go into textbooks, into classes, and into the brains [of students],” Chen said last week on the sidelines of the congress.

“We will design specific teaching methods that combine texts … of various grades and subjects.” Continue reading

Science fraud

Source: NYT (10/13/17)
Fraud Scandals Sap China’s Dream of Becoming a Science Superpower
查看简体中文版  | 查看繁體中文版
By Amy Qin

A plastic surgery procedure at a hospital in Shanghai in August. Under President Xi Jinping, China has set a goal of becoming “a global scientific and technology power” by 2049.CreditChandan Khanna/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

BEIJING — Having conquered world markets and challenged American political and military leadership, China has set its sights on becoming a global powerhouse in a different field: scientific research. It now has more laboratory scientists than any other country, outspends the entire European Union on research and development, and produces more scientific articles than any other nation except the United States.

But in its rush to dominance, China has stood out in another, less boastful way. Since 2012, the country has retracted more scientific papers because of faked peer reviews than all other countries and territories put together, according to Retraction Watch, a blog that tracks and seeks to publicize retractions of research papers. Continue reading

China punishing UC San Diego (2)

That’s truly low, and petty.

Worse, this kind of petty campaign replicates the awful way in which the Chinese government has even bullied whole countries, like Norway and Spain, separately, for not being “obedient.”

When they use the proverbial method of “killing the chicken to scare the monkey,” one should take note that the bully is not only scaring the “monkeys,” but reducing them to … “monkeys,” without dignity.

Let’s refuse to be those “monkeys,”


Magnus Fiskesjö <>

China punishing UC San Diego (1)

This is not the starting point of the Chinese government’s punishment of UC San Diego. As a Ph.D. student from the Department of History of UCSD, I arrived in China in July to do dissertation research. Most universities in China refused to write letters of introduction to me and my classmates because of the Dalai Lama incident, including those who have official academic affiliations with UCSD. We are having a very difficult time in China, almost impossible to get any archival material below the provincial-level archives.

Yupeng Jiao <>

China punishing UC San Diego

Posted by Magnus Fiskesjö <>
Source: Inside Higher Education (9/20/17)
Is China Punishing a U.S. University for Hosting the Dalai Lama?
Chinese scholars may have more difficulty coming to the University of California, San Diego, after the university invited the Tibetan religious leader to deliver a commencement speech.
By Elizabeth Redden

Is the Chinese government punishing the University of California, San Diego, for inviting the Dalai Lama to be its 2017 commencement speaker?

Victor Shih, an associate professor of political economy at UCSD who studies Chinese banking and fiscal policies, posted on Twitter on Saturday an image of a document “regarding questions about government-sponsored study (visit) abroad to UC San Diego.” Shih posted a Chinese-language document — which he said a colleague received directly from the China Scholarship Council — and an English translation suggesting that the agency will no longer process applications for prospective visiting scholars to UCSD who have not already scheduled visa interviews.

“China Scholarship Council puts a freeze on all CSC-funded scholars to @GPS_UCSD, presumably due to Dalai Lama visit,” Shih said on Twitter. Reached via email, he said, “My only comment now is that CSC did not freeze any funding to UCSD, or provide us with any funding in the first place. It seems from the statement that it will freeze funding going to Chinese scholars who wish to be visitors to UCSD.” He did not respond to follow-up messages seeking more information about his sourcing. The chair of UCSD’s 21st Century China Center, Susan Shirk, who was copied on Shih’s email to Inside Higher Ed, did not respond to inquiries. Continue reading

Dissenting academic leaves China for US

Source: The Guardian (9/14/17)
‘Farewell’: Qiao Mu, dissenting academic, leaves China for US
Friends say Qiao’s decision has come after his academic career was wrecked by refusal to fall into line
By Tom Philips

Qiao Mu

Since 2014, Qiao had been banished from the classroom, apparently in punishment for his public support for ideas such as democracy. Photograph: James Wasserman/Demotix for The Guardian

Qiao Mu had always insisted he would not be forced to leave China. “We must change our nation, not our nationality,” the outspoken academic told the Guardian over lunch in the summer of 2015.

Last Friday morning, however, Qiao and his family set off for Beijing’s international airport to catch a Boeing 777 bound for the United States.

“I’m leaving my country and I’ll miss it. Farewell,” Qiao, 47, announced on the social messaging service WeChat as he waited to board Air China Flight CA817 to Washington DC. He did not say when, or indeed if, he might return. Continue reading

Yuan Tengfei’s Weibo account removed

Source: Shanghaiist (9/12/17)
Maverick history teacher has Weibo account removed days after anniversary of Mao’s death


On Monday, a well-known history teacher and government critic had his Weibo account taken down, just a few days after the 41st anniversary of Mao Zedong’s death — a fact which has struck some as being quite the coincidence.

Yuan Tengfei (袁腾飞) rose to national prominence back in 2008 after some of his history lectures were posted online by a Beijing cram school and widely-shared. Yuan’s engaging, humorous teaching-style and the sensitive subject matter that he covered quickly made him into a star among students across China, earning him the moniker of “the most awesome history teacher in history” and turning him into a best-selling author before beginning to interfere with his career prospects. Continue reading

Uncritical embrace of China

Excellent summing up and excellent recommendations for how universities should face China.–Fwd by Magnus Fiskesjö <>

Source: Financial Review (9/7/17)
Intellectual freedoms challenged by universities uncritical embrace of China
Collaborations between Chinese and Australian universities risk compromising academic freedom and the liberal values of Western higher eduction, writes John Fitzgerald.
By John Fitzgerald

Australian universities risk presenting a weak face to Chinese authorities and an open door to compromised intellectual ...

Australian universities risk presenting a weak face to Chinese authorities and an open door to compromised intellectual processes. Photo: SHUTTERSTOCK

Who would have imagined this time last year that international educational co-operation between Australia and China would generate so many headlines in 2017?

In March, Australian academic Feng Chongyi was prevented from leaving Guangzhou and subjected to interrogation. The matter reached the offices of the Australian Prime Minister and the Chinese Premier. In a number of separate incidents, Australian university lecturers have been denounced on Chinese social media for offending the patriotic sensibilities of their students. And in mid-August, an intimidating convoy of luxury sedans slowly toured the campuses of UTS and Sydney University bearing the slogan “Anyone who offends China will be killed …”. Continue reading

Free Speech and Academic Freedom signature campaign

Dear all,

Please note the signature campaign, titled “In Defence of Free Speech and Academic Freedom — Support Conscientious Scholar Professor Benny Tai” (捍衛言論及學術自由 支持良心學者戴耀廷) has been launched.  A copy of the statement is provided herein for your easy reference. Please visit this link ( for details, including the names of initiators and signatories.

Please join and help spread this among your colleagues. This signature campaign targets at local and international academics only instead of students or administrative staff.


Scholars’ Alliance for Academic Freedom
(On behalf of the initiators) Continue reading

The real Chinese student story

Source: Sup China (9/5/17)
Lawrence Kuok: The real Chinese student story — a response to John Pomfret
A response to “Chinese cash at American colleges is a massive problem.”
By Lawrence Kuok

A screenshot from the movie American Dreams in China (中国合伙人)

Ruize came to the U.S. when she was 19. She barely spoke any English and her only ideas of the U.S. were from the TV shows Growing Pains and Knight Rider. She attended Western Washington University as a supply chain management major. While she struggled at the beginning learning an entirely new language and culture, while having new subject matter, she would later become a process consultant for a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, where she would be promoted three times in three years. Today, at 29, she is about to matriculate to a top-10 M.B.A. program. As I interviewed her about her story, we first started speaking Chinese, and she was happy to oblige. But alas, even after my 20 years of learning Chinese, working at Microsoft China, working at a startup in Beijing, studying at Peking University, being a mini celebrity from one time competing on the Chinese TV show If You Are the One, and having the advantage of parents from Taiwan and Beijing, it was clear that her English was just far better than my Chinese — so I realized that I had better stick to English if I wanted to keep the pace and fluidity of the conversation. Continue reading