#MeToo at CAFA

Source: Sup China (1/21/20)
#MeToo At China’s Most Prestigious Art School


Photo credit: SupChina illustration by Derek Zheng

A group of students at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA), China’s top art school, are calling on school authorities to fire a professor who has been disciplined for sexual misconduct but has retained his teaching position.

The demand first made headlines on January 10, when one alleged victim posted an audio recording (in Chinese) to social media. The clip features a conversation between her and a member of the school’s discipline committee in which she asks why classes taught by Yáo Shùnxī 姚舜熙, who was found violating policies against sexual misconduct, were on the course schedule again.

In June 2019, dozens of students filed a collective complaint against Yao, accusing him of multiple instances of sexual harassment, selling students’ artworks without their permission, taking bribes, and fabricating allegations against other instructors at the school. Continue reading

Do coercive reeducation technologies actually work

Source: LA Review of Books (1/6/20)
Do Coercive Reeducation Technologies Actually Work?
By Darren Byler

Photo by the author. A People’s Convenience Police Station in Ürümchi in 2018

For the Provocations series, in conjunction with UCI’s “The Future of the Future: The Ethics and Implications of AI” conference.

Sometime in mid-2019 a police officer tapped a student who had been studying at a university on the West Coast of the United States on the shoulder. The student, who asked me to call her Anni (安妮), after the famous Dutch-Jewish diarist Anne Frank, didn’t notice the tapping at first because she was listening to music through her ear buds. Speaking in Chinese, Anni’s native language, the police officer motioned her into a nearby People’s Convenience Police Station. On a monitor in the boxy gray building, she saw her face surrounded by a yellow square. On other screens she saw pedestrians walking down the street, their faces surrounded by green squares. Beside the high definition video still of her face, her personal data appeared in a black text box. It said that she was Hui, a member of a Chinese Muslim group, and that she was a “converted” or rehabilitated former detainee. The yellow square indicated that she had once again been deemed a “pre-criminal.” Anni said at that moment she felt as though she could hardly breathe. Continue reading

At ‘sacred lake,’ Chinese declare love for Xi and CCP

Source: NYT (1/8/20)
At ‘Sacred’ Lake, Chinese Declare Love for Xi and Communist Party
Some come to seek an emotional lift, others to sing patriotic tunes. But they all raise a fist and say an oath, a rite meant to show China’s strength in the 21st century.
By Javier Hernandez

Reciting the Chinese Communist Party oath outside the Nanhu Revolutionary Memorial Hall museum in Jiaxing, China. Credit…Yan Cong for The New York Times

NANHU LAKE, China — He was anxious about China’s trade war with the United States. He was worried about the rise of pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong. So Liu Yuanrong, a lifelong member of the Chinese Communist Party, followed the advice of a friend: Go to the lake.

That would be Nanhu Lake, a cradle of Chinese communism in eastern China that in recent years has become a spiritual retreat for the party’s more than 90 million members.

There, near a forest of pine trees one recent day, Mr. Liu straightened his back, furrowed his brow and threw his fist triumphantly into the air.

“I vow to devote my life to defending communism,” said Mr. Liu, a 57-year-old electronics trader from southern China, reciting a party oath. “I vow to sacrifice everything for the party.” Continue reading

How should Western universities respond

Excellent observations and concrete suggestions for Western universities below, in this article by John Fitzgerald.–Magnus Fiskesjö <nf42@cornell.edu>

Source: Journal of Political Risk 8, no. 1 (Jan. 2, 2020)
Chinese Scholars Are Calling For Freedom And Autonomy – How Should Western Universities Respond?
By John Fitzgerald, Swinburne University of Technology [1]

Red Guard political slogan on Fudan University campus, Shanghai, China, toward the close of the Cultural Revolution (Spring 1976). ‘Defend party central with blood and life! Defend Chairman Mao with blood and life!’ Source: Wikimedia

In stifling free and open inquiry, China’s universities are being faithful to the party’s Marxist values and authoritarian principles. Universities in the West could display similar backbone by standing up for the values and principles of their own communities, including academic freedom and institutional autonomy, when they deal with education authorities in China. People in China who value freedom and critical inquiry expect nothing less of us.

On December 18, 2019, China’s Ministry of Education announced the latest in a series of revisions of national university constitutions to ensure that the party takes pride of place in their management, curriculum, and international engagements. Public attention was drawn to changes in the charter of Fudan University when footage went viral of students singing their school anthem in protest at the damage done to their school constitution. The Ministry of Education had deleted two phrases from the Fudan charter still preserved in the old school anthem: ‘academic independence and freedom of thought.’[2]

Clearly students in China think academic independence and freedom of thought are worth preserving.  Do scholars in the West agree? If so, how can they help to  defend the fundamental principles and values under assault in Xi Jinping’s China? Continue reading

Scientist accused of smuggling lab sample

Source: NYT (12/31/19)
Chinese Scientist Is Accused of Smuggling Lab Samples, Amid Crackdown on Research Theft
Zaosong Zheng, a promising cancer researcher, confessed that he had planned to take the stolen samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, and publish the results under his own name.
By Ellen Barry

An entrance to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, in Boston, in 2014. Zaosong Zheng was a cancer researcher there recently. Credit…Steven Senne/Associated Press

BOSTON — Zaosong Zheng was preparing to board Hainan Airlines Flight 482, nonstop from Boston to Beijing, when customs officers pulled him aside.

Inside his checked luggage, wrapped in a plastic bag and then inserted into a sock, the officers found what they were looking for: 21 vials of brown liquid — cancer cells — that the authorities say Mr. Zheng, 29, a cancer researcher, took from a laboratory at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Under questioning, court documents say, Mr. Zheng acknowledged that he had stolen eight of the samples and had replicated 11 more based on a colleague’s research. When he returned to China, he said, he would take the samples to Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital and turbocharge his career by publishing the results in China, under his own name. Continue reading

Pickup artists

Source: NYT (12/29/19)
For China’s Pickup Artists, Sex Is the Goal and Urging Suicide Is a Tactic
In China, teaching men the manipulative ways of the pickup artist became big business. A crackdown is revealing a curriculum of abuse.
By Li Yuan

“You’ve given your best thing to another man,” he texted her, referring to her virginity. “I’m left with nothing.”

She texted back: “I’ve said my best thing is my future.”

“You’re shameless,” he lashed out, calling her a “stinking idiot” and a “slut.”

“I want you to get pregnant with me then get an abortion,” he said.

On Oct. 9, the woman, referred to as Bao Li, the Chinese equivalent of Jane Doe, tried to commit suicide. She has since been declared brain dead.

One of her last messages to the man: “You’re dazzling while I’m a piece of garbage.”

Her tragic story shocked the Chinese public. A hashtag referring to screenshots of her text exchanges got nearly 1.4 billion views in just two days on the social media platform Weibo before it was censored. Continue reading

He Jiankui gets 3 years

Source: NYT (12/20/19)
Chinese Scientist Who Genetically Edited Babies Gets 3 Years in Prison
He Jiankui’s work was also carried out on a third infant, according to China’s state media, in a new disclosure that is likely to add to the global uproar over such experiments.
By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING — A court in China on Monday sentenced He Jiankui, the researcher who shocked the global scientific community when he claimed that he had created the world’s first genetically edited babies, to three years in prison for carrying out “illegal medical practices.”

In a surprise announcement from a trial that was closed to the public, the court in the southern city of Shenzhen found Dr. He guilty of forging approval documents from ethics review boards to recruit couples in which the man had H.I.V. and the woman did not, the state broadcaster China Central Television reported. Dr. He had said he was trying to prevent H.I.V. infections in newborns, but the state media on Monday said he deceived the subjects and the medical authorities alike.

Dr. He sent the scientific world into an uproar last year when he announced at a conference in Hong Kong that he had created the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls. On Monday, China’s state media said his work had resulted in a third genetically edited baby, who had been previously undisclosed. Continue reading

Suicide case sparks online debate

Source: China Media Project (12/19/19)

Suicide Case Sparks Online Debate

A report earlier this month by Southern Weekly (南方周末) has generated intense debate in China about emotional abuse and sexism — and has also sparked lively discussion of journalism standards.

The original report in what is now being referred to in shorthand as the “Bao Li suicide incident” (包丽自杀事件) was called “The Death of a Female Peking University Student” (北大女生之死). Published through Southern Weekly’s WeChat public account on December 12, the article, written by journalist Chai Huiqun (柴会群), chronicled the alleged emotional abuse of a third-year female student at the Peking University Law School, identified as Bao Li (包丽) — this being a pseudonym used to protect the victim’s name — by her boyfriend, a fourth-year student in the School of Government at Peking University surnamed Mou (牟). Continue reading

China cuts ‘freedom of thought’ from university charters

For more on this story, see also a piece in the NYT.–Kirk

Source: The Guardian (12/18/19)
China cuts ‘freedom of thought’ from top university charters
Inclusion of pledge to follow Communist party leadership sparks rare defiance at Fudan
By Reuters

Graduates pose in front of a statue of the late Chinese leader Mao at Fudan University in Beijing.

Graduates pose in front of a statue of the late Chinese leader Mao at Fudan University in Beijing. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

Changes to the charter of one of China’s top universities, including dropping the phrase “freedom of thought” and the inclusion of a pledge to follow the Communist party’s leadership, has sparked fierce debate and a rare act of student defiance.

The changes to the charter of Fudan University in Shanghai, considered one of China’s more liberal institutions, emerged on Tuesday when the education ministry said it had approved the revisions for three universities.

Within hours, the Fudan amendments were trending on Weibo with one hashtag viewed more than a million times. Continue reading

HK considering penalties for teachers over protest

Source: HK Free Press (12/11/19)
Hong Kong Education Bureau ‘considering penalties’ for around 30 teachers over protest-related conduct complaints
By Holmes Chan

Kevin Yeung

Education chief Kevin Yeung. File Photo: GovHK.

Around 30 teachers in Hong Kong may be penalised for misconduct related to the ongoing pro-democracy protests, the Education Bureau has said.

The government body said that it received 106 complaints of teacher misconduct between June and mid-November in connection to the ongoing protests. The Bureau had concluded a “preliminary investigation” into 60 cases, and – in about 30 of them – the complaints were initially found to be substantiated.

The exact penalty has yet to be decided, the Bureau added.

Separately, the Education Bureau also told a school that it should “consider suspending” a teacher who was arrested over unlawful assembly and possession of dangerous weapons. Continue reading

SupChina Student Ambassador Program

SupChina Has Launched A Student Ambassador Program!
DECEMBER 5, 2019

We’ve recently launched a student ambassador program to give you the tools and resources to inform your campus about China-related issues. Help from the ground level of a fast-growing startup and inspire interesting conversation on your campus!


Gain valuable experience for a future career in doing business with China through our student ambassador program at SupChina. You will be the conduit on your campus to drive conversation with various groups and help your campus to become better informed on China from a cultural, political, and economic perspective. Beyond your efforts on campus, you will also have the opportunity to connect and network with fellow student ambassadors across the U.S. and the world. Also you’ll have direct access to our editorial team via slack; successful ambassadors will have the opportunity to pitch articles and be published through SupChina. Continue reading

HK Cinema through a Global Lens MOOC

Thinking about Hong Kong? So are we.

Registration is now open for the next offering of Hong Kong Cinema through a Global Lens, the first MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Hong Kong cinema to be produced anywhere in the world. We are proud to remind you that our MOOC was recently named one of “the 10 smartest online courses you can sign up for” by Mental Floss. We invite you to join our educational journey exploring Hong Kong cinema through this award-winning online course. The action begins on February 4, 2020.

Enjoy and engage in conversation on Hong Kong cinema with internationally-recognized film studies scholars Professor Gina Marchetti and Dr. Aaron Han Joon Magnan-Park from the HKU Department of Comparative Literature and Dr. Stacilee Ford from the Department of History, the American Studies Program, and the Gender Studies Program at HKU with the creative assistance of HKU TELI (Technology-Enriched Learning Initiative). Share insights with learners with a range of experiences and interests and find out what you have to learn and offer, regardless of how much or how little you know about Hong Kong and its cinematic scene. Continue reading

Georgia Tech MS in Global Media and Cultures

The Georgia Institute of Technology is calling for graduate applications for the 1-year M.S. in Global Media and Cultures (MS-GMC). Launched in 2019, MS-GMC is a joined degree by the School of Modern Languages and School of Literature, Media, and Communication. As the first advanced degree in foreign language and cultural studies in the United States explicitly designed for industry careers, MS-GMC builds on Georgia Tech’s cutting-edge programs in foreign language and media education. It prepares students to work effectively in contexts ranging from non-profit, business, engineering, public policy, and medicine.

MS-GMC takes three semesters (Fall, Spring, and Summer) to complete. Students take 30 credit hours of course work, have a concentration in one of the available languages, defend a professional portfolio, and complete a final project.

The program is currently offered in six different language concentrations: Chinese, Japanese, French, German, Russian, and Spanish. Students with intermediate-mid level proficiency in their language concentration (ACTFL standards) eligible to apply.

To apply (https://grad.modlangs.gatech.edu/apply): Continue reading

China’s growing threat to academic freedom

Source: Japan Times (11/25/19)
China’s growing threat to academic freedom

In “The Scholars,” the classic 18th century Chinese novel on the lives and misadventures of Ming Dynasty literati, there is an episode that departs unnervingly from the book’s satirical, moralizing tone. One day the Nanjing scholar Chuang reluctantly obeys a summons to consult with the emperor in Beijing. On the way to Beijing he meets a fellow scholar, Lu, who excitedly tells him of a banned book he has just purchased, written by a scholar unjustly executed 160 years before. Chuang praises Lu for his “respect for learning”, but warns his new friend to avoid “forbidden books.” Nevertheless, he invites Lu to stay with him when he returns to Nanjing.

Back in Nanjing, Chuang keeps his promise to host Lu. But not long after Lu’s arrival, hundreds of soldiers arrive and swarm over Chuang’s estate; their commander orders Chuang to tell him if a scholar possessing a forbidden book is staying there. Lu surrenders himself, but in the following days Chuang works his Beijing connections to get Lu released. This story conveys vividly the vulnerability of scholars to a state authority that spares no expense to hunt them down if they stray from its narrow orthodoxy.

Chinese academics now struggling under what the Scholars at Risk Network describes as systematic Chinese government policies intended “to constrict academic activity and to intimidate, silence, and punish outspoken academics and students” might find much to relate to in Wu’s story. Continue reading

Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics event cancelled

Alert: Columbia University in NYC just bowed to Chinese pressure/intimidation, canceling an event, Thursday, Nov. 14 2019. I personally think it’s very likely that the effort to shut down the event was organized from the Chinese consulate in NYC, using proxies from clubs like the CSSA. I think everyone is now asking, will they reschedule it? When? Will Columbia University be able to defend the freedom of expression, and the right to hold this event? Below, the organizer’s statement issued last night. Magnus Fiskesjö, nf42@cornell.edu

Source: Students for a Free Tibet


Free Speech in American Universities Under Attack From Beijing
November 15, 2019
Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics

The event that was cancelled: “Panopticism with Chinese Characteristics: the human rights violations by the Chinese Communist Party and how they affect the world.” Continue reading