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
by 

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!
ALEX URIST
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!

Summary:

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
By SHAUN O’DWYER

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

https://studentsforafreetibet.org/free-speech-in-american-universities-under-attack-from-beijing/

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

Universities become battlegrounds

Source: SCMP (11/13/19)
High Court denies injunction sought by Chinese University student leader to bar Hong Kong police from campus after days of clashes with protesters
Jacky So files for temporary injunction after CUHK was the site of clashes between protesters and riot police that led to 119 people being injured. But court dismisses bid, with lawyer arguing that criminals could hide on campus if police did not have a warrant to enter
By Tony Cheung

[See also: https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/politics/article/3037454/hong-kong-anti-government-protests-pitched-battles-campuses and https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/13/world/asia/hong-kong-protests-students.html]

Clashes erupt on Tuesday between anti-government protesters and riot police on the campus of Chinese University. Photo: Winson Wong

Clashes erupt on Tuesday between anti-government protesters and riot police on the campus of Chinese University. Photo: Winson Wong

A Hong Kong court has dismissed an urgent injunction application by a Chinese University student leader to bar unauthorised police from campus after the school became a battleground for anti-government protesters and the authorities.

Jacky So Tsun-fung, the CUHK student union president, filed an application on Wednesday for the temporary injunction to the High Court after his school was the site of a tense stand-off between protesters and riot police that started on Monday and led to 119 people being injured.

The court heard that protesters stalled public transport for two days by throwing objects from a No. 2 Bridge above a highway and the MTR East Rail line. Riot police arriving at the bridge were brought to a standstill by protesters who hurled petrol bombs at the officers. Continue reading

Charles University mired in Chinese influence scandal

Source: Financial Times (11/11/19)
Czech university mired in Chinese influence scandal
Secret payments to academics renew concerns about Beijing’s encroachment
By Kathrin Hille in Taipei and James Shotter in Warsaw

CRBMF1 Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, Europe

The controversy at the university comes as politicians, civil society groups and academics are pushing back against their country’s alignment with China © Alamy

Prague’s Charles University is being shaken by a scandal over secret Chinese payments to four of its faculty members, amid concerns that Beijing could use its ties with some Czech politicians to build influence in academia.

The university, one of the world’s oldest academic institutions, fired Milos Balaban, until recently head of the university’s Centre for Security Policy (SBP), and two other members of the social sciences faculty last week. The move came after the school discovered they had set up a private company under the name of SBP which was paid by the Chinese embassy for conferences co-organised by the university centre. Continue reading

Beijing asks Chinese students to leave Taiwan

Source: Taiwan News (11/10/19)
Beijing asks Chinese students to leave Taiwan before presidential election: report
Message spreading among Chinese students and their parents
By Teng Pei-ju, Taiwan News, Staff Writer

Taiwanese cast their votes.

Taiwanese cast their votes. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Beijing has reportedly asked Chinese students to leave Taiwan before the presidential and legislative elections scheduled for January 11, even though some students have said they would rather stay on the island to observe the voting process themselves.

A Chinese municipal government office that handles the affairs of local residents with children studying in Taiwan has announced that students are advised to return to China before January 11, according to a screenshot sent by a parent to Apple Daily on Saturday (Nov. 9). The message does not provide an explanation, but many believe it is meant to prevent Chinese students from staying in the country while the Taiwanese electorate casts its ballot for the next leader of the country. Continue reading

British report warns of Chinese govt influence on UK campuses

Source: The Independent (11/5/19)
Chinese government confiscating papers and getting events cancelled at British universities, MPs’ report warns
Battle to recruit students must not outweigh ‘risks’ to academic freedom, MPs say
By Eleanor Busby and Kim Sengupta

Papers have been confiscated and events cancelled at British universities as a direct result of interference from Chinese officials, a report by an influential committee of MPs has warned.

An employee of a Russian government-sponsored body also allegedly planted a bugging device to record an academic discussion in the UK, the Foreign Affairs Committee report claims.

Authorities in Britain are not doing enough to protect academic freedom from financial, political and diplomatic pressures from autocratic states, it concludes, adding that the government has “failed” to consider the threat posed by the likes of China and Russia, and that guidance warning universities of potential risks is “non-existent”.

The report warns that the battle to recruit more students and increase funding should not outweigh “serious risks” to academic freedom. Continue reading

HK campuses as political battlefields

Source: SCMP (10/30/19)
Hong Kong university chiefs caught in crossfire as protest tensions risk turning campuses into political battlefields
Backing protesters risks offending authorities; condemning violence will anger students. Students attend lectures dressed in black, equipped to go directly to protests if needed.
By Chris Lau and Gigi Choy

Students make up about a fifth of the 2,711 people arrested over protests since June. Illustration: Perry Tse

Students make up about a fifth of the 2,711 people arrested over protests since June. Illustration: Perry Tse

Chinese University vice-chancellor Rocky Tuan Sung-chi found himself surrounded by his students, some dressed in black, some masked, many upset and in tears.

They demanded that he and the university condemn police brutality in Hong Kong’s ongoing anti-government protests, now in their fifth month. Some called him “a disgrace to Chinese University” for staying silent, while others pointed laser beams at him.

The October 10 meeting took a dramatic turn when a female student whipped off her mask and claimed she was sexually abused while in police custody after being arrested at a protest.

He found himself under fresh attack immediately. Continue reading

Professors, beware

Source: NYT (11/1/19)
Professors, Beware. A ‘Student Information Officer’ Might Be Watching
阅读简体中文版阅读简体中文版 | 閱讀繁體中文版閱讀繁體中文版
By Javier C. Hernández

You Shengdong, a professor, was fired by a university in China last year after students reported him for questioning a political slogan favored by Xi Jinping, the country’s leader. Credit: Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

CHENGDU, China — With a neon-red backpack and white Adidas shoes, he looks like any other undergraduate on the campus of Sichuan University in southwestern China.

But Peng Wei, a 21-year-old chemistry major, has a special mission: He is both student and spy.

Mr. Peng is one of a growing number of “student information officers” who keep tabs on their professors’ ideological views. They are there to help root out teachers who show any sign of disloyalty to President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party.

“It’s our duty to make sure that the learning environment is pure,” Mr. Peng said, “and that professors are following the rules.” Continue reading