How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (6)

Source: Inside Higher Education (5/20/19)
X-ing Out Xinjiang
By Elizabeth Redden
A China studies scholar says a journal editor censored him by striking out a section of a book review critical of the Chinese government’s policies in Xinjiang. The editor denies it was censorship.

Courtesy of Timothy Grose

In yet another case of alleged censorship in the China studies field, a scholar says a journal editor censored his book review by requesting the deletion of an opening paragraph that contextualized the book in light of Chinese Communist Party policy toward members of the Uighur ethnic minority group in the region of Xinjiang. Human rights groups estimate that China has detained as many as one million Uighurs in camps as part of a mass “re-education” drive aimed at forcing the assimilation of Uighurs and other Muslim-majority groups.

The scholar, Timothy Grose, an assistant professor of China studies at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, says the requested deletions — and the refusal over multiple months to publish the piece after he did not consent to them — constitute an “open-and-shut” case of censorship, and he has noted that the editor in chief of the journal is on record defending Chinese government policy in Xinjiang. Continue reading

Locating Livestreaming in Asia–cfp

Call for Contributions: Virtual Workshop ‘ASIA.LIVE: Locating Livestreaming in Asia’

While not solely concerned with China, list members may still find the following comparative workshop of interest. We are inviting audiovisual submissions, with the option for contributors to later also submit accompanying research articles for publication.

Hosts: Leiden University, the Leiden Asia Centre, and Asiascape: Digital Asia
Organisers: Florian Schneider, Dino Ge Zhang, Gabriele de Seta
Date: 13 September 2019
Abstract Deadline: 20 June 2019

The practice of broadcasting live video through the internet has recently seen a resurgence, as livestreaming platforms recuperated the format pioneered by cam sites from around the early 2000s (Senft, 2008). From Periscope and Twitch to YouTube and Facebook Live, livestreaming video is today a popular media format, especially among gaming communities, Esports audiences, and popular media commentators (Taylor, 2018). Continue reading

How a journal censored by review of Xinjiang (5)

May I chime in as an Uyghur scholar?

I don’t think to hold a person accountable for restricting academic freedom is attacking. We should hold Brill accountable for their lack of communication and oversight but the person who is responsible for censoring the content is at fault from the beginning. Maybe it is my personal experience and feelings as an Uyghur are clouding my judgment, but at least my view comes from a desire for academic freedom, which I never had before coming to the US. If calling out Han Xiaorong for not respecting academic freedom is “attacking” him, well, count me in! I’m “attacking” Han Xiaorong for attempting to censor Dr. Grose’s review. It also is irresponsible of us if we solely put the blame on Brill, and would only perpetuate this kind of abhorrent behavior further.

Mirshad Ghalip <mieralif@iu.edu>
Department of Anthropology
Indiana University

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (5)

Recently a suspected case of censorship in one of Brill’s journals came to our attention, involving a book review written by Timothy Grose for our new journal China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies.  We have heard about the case on 7 April through Timothy Grose’s posting on social media and have acted immediately by contacting him. During the last weeks we were in a process of gathering information about the case. We have received a report from the author and copies of the correspondence between the author and editor. On 16 May we have received a report from the editor describing his perspective of the events. We will review this information to decide whether our publication ethics have been breached. As publisher we are never involved with editorial decisions and our editorial boards enjoy complete academic freedom. However, if our publication ethics have been breached, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action. Censorship or any other bias to race, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, ethnic origin, citizenship, or political philosophy of the authors would be a clear breach of our ethical standards and are not acceptable.

Jasmin Lange <langej@brill.com>
Chief Publishing Officer, Brill

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (4)

I do not believe it is fruitful or correct to focus on Han Xiaorong or any one person. I do believe Brill, as a publisher and as a business that purports to work in the academic world of free inquiry, needs to take responsibility for its attempts to play all sides of a very fraught issue. It cannot be an honest broker without honesty. Brill needs to be held to account. The attacks on Han Xiaorong need to stop. In my opinion.

Rebecca Karl <karl.rebecca22@gmail.com>

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (3)

No one ever openly and proudly admits that they are engaged in censorship. I get it. Even the Propaganda Department would like to be known as the Publicity Department.

And yet, like the famous quote about obscenity, when it comes to censorship, I know it when I see it. And despite Han Xiaorong’s attempts to explain away what happened at the journal China and Asia, this seems to me to be an extremely clear-cut case of censorship.

Han claims that the reference to Xinjiang’s concentration camps at the beginning of Grose’s review is “political” and thus somehow inappropriate. But as someone who writes a fair amount of book reviews, I’ve never encountered an editor who was resistant to linking a book review to pressing current affairs. This applies even to journals focused on history. Books are, after all, read in the context of the world as it is today, and I find it frankly impossible to read Cliff’s book without thinking about the ongoing tragedy in Xinjiang. Continue reading

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang (1)

My Response to Timothy Grose’s “How an Academic Journal Censored My Review on Xinjiang”
Han Xiaorong
Department of Chinese Culture
The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

As the editor-in-chief of China and Asia, I was solely responsible for selecting reviews for the first issue of our journal, and none of our advisers or editorial board members was involved in the selection process. In other words, Tim was on target by focusing his criticism on me.

Due to miscommunications between our book review editor and me (for this I offer my sincere apology to all parties involved), we acquired two book reviews (one was from Timothy Grose about Xinjiang, and the other reviews a book about the Chinese Communist revolution) that were not directly relevant to our journal’s central theme, which is China’s historical relations with other Asian countries. This is why I did not include these two reviews in our first issue. For the list of works published in the first issue of our journal, please click here.

Each piece in that issue deals with China’s historical interactions with other parts of Asia, specifically between China and the Indian Ocean world and between China and Korea. Continue reading

How a journal censored my review on Xinjiang

More Brill malfeasance. How sincere is the publisher about not bowing to pre-emptive censorship? Or was the Frontiers mea culpa all window dressing, as I now suspect it was.–Rebecca Karl

Source: LARB China Channel (5/13/19)
How an Academic Journal Censored My Review on Xinjiang
By Timothy Grose
A squelched review of Oil and Water by Tom Cliff – Timothy Grose

On January 1, 2018, I received a request from China and Asia: A Journal in Historical Studies, a new journal sponsored by the academic publisher Brill, a respected Dutch publishing house with some 275 journals under its aegis, which claims “over three centuries of scholarly publishing.” The request from the journal was to review Tom Cliff’s book Oil and Water – an ethnography about Han settler experiences in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. I agreed, and the review had a generous November 2018 deadline as the journal would publish its first edition in early 2019. The journal’s book review editor is a trusted friend, and I was pleased to read China and Asia’s mission statement: “Its purpose is to promote communication and exchange among the global Asian studies community, especially among scholars based in Asian countries.” Continue reading

Wikipedia blocked in China

Source: BBC News (5/14/19)
Wikipedia blocked in China in all languages

Screenshot of Wikipedia add

Wikipedia is now blocked in China. Image copyright: PHILIPPE LOPEZ.

All language editions of Wikipedia have been blocked in mainland China since April, the Wikimedia foundation has confirmed. Internet censorship researchers found that Wikipedia had joined thousands of other websites which cannot be accessed in China.

The country had previously banned the Chinese language version of the site, but the block has now been expanded. Wikimedia said it had received “no notice” of the move. Continue reading

Gushi FM

Source: NYT (5/12/19)
In China, a Podcast Inspired by ‘This American Life’ Gives Voice to the Real
By Amy Qin

Kou Aizhe, creator and host of the Chinese storytelling podcast “Gushi FM,” says his goal is “to show the complexity of each person.” Credit: Yan Cong for The New York Times

BEIJING — Kou Aizhe, the creator and host of one of China’s most popular storytelling podcasts, has only one criterion for selecting stories.

“Any subject can work,” he said, “as long as it surprises me.”

What emerges is a collection of unusual stories told with an authenticity rarely heard in the country’s tightly scripted, propaganda-heavy state-run media.

A worker for a Chinese construction company describes a harrowing escape from war in Libya in an episode titled “I Shot an AK-47 at Them.” A young man recounts accompanying his ailing father to Switzerland to die by assisted suicide. A lesbian tells of her decision to enter a marriage of convenience to a gay man.

Taking inspiration from American programs like “This American Life” and WNYC’s “Snap Judgment,” Mr. Kou’s “Gushi FM” (Story FM in English) features stories told in the first person by ordinary Chinese of various backgrounds. Continue reading

Finding a voice

Source: China File (3/28/19)
Finding a Voice
By Lü Pin(吕频)

Lü Pin is a Chinese feminist activist focusing on strategic advocacy to combat gender-based discrimination and violence. She started her work on women’s rights in the late 1990s. In 2009, she founded Feminist Voices, China’s largest new media platform on women’s issues. Since 2012, she has been devoted to supporting the activism of young feminists across China. She now resides in Albany, New York, where she continues to follow the feminist movement in China closely.

(Courtesy of Chinese Feminist Activists) A protest against domestic violence in China, 2013.

[This article was first published in the “China” issue of Logic, a magazine about technology.]

When I started writing this article, Feminist Voices had been deleted for six months and ten days. Yes, I have been keeping track of the time: ten days, fifteen days, thirty days, sixty days, three months, six months. . . The first week after it disappeared from the Internet, my heart was filled with mourning; every day I lay in bed and cried. As time went by, I seemed to see a figure drifting away, but her soul was still near me. And her name will always linger in my mind. Continue reading

Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols review

MCLC and MCLC Resource Center are pleased to announce publication of Shana Ye’s review of Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan (HK University Press, 2017), edited by Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao. The review appears below and can be read online at:  http://u.osu.edu/mclc/book-reviews/shana-ye/. My thanks to Jason McGrath, MCLC media studies book review editor, for ushering the review to publication.

Kirk Denton, editor

Boy’s Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer
Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan

Edited by Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao


Reviewed by Shana Ye
MCLC Resource Center Publication (Copyright April, 2019)


Maud Lavin, Ling Yang, and Jing Jamie Zhao, eds. Boys’ Love, Cosplay, and Androgynous Idols: Queer Fan Cultures in Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2017. 292 pp. ISBN 978-9888390809 (hardback $60).

Many students in my Gender and East Asian Culture class are amazed by the almost omnipresent representation of androgynous pop idols, sexually ambiguous celebrities, and gender-bending TV shows in both Chinese mainstream media and fan communities. These cultural proliferations seem to contradict what they have in mind of what China is like from the perspective of their everyday North American lives. Some of the students, especially those with a feminist background who are concerned with the relationships between new forms of queer desire and transnational digital capitalism ironically reinscribe queer transgression into stereotypes of “Asian gender/sexual transitions.” For those who themselves are practitioners of boy’s love, cosplay, and queer cultural production, different media industries and grassroots fandom culture provide new windows through which to reflect on questions of nationality, belonging, cosmopolitan identity, and heteropatriarchy. Yet, a large number of the students still have trouble distinguishing China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Korea from one another. Continue reading

China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority

Source: The Guardian (4/11/19)
China’s hi-tech war on its Muslim minority
Smartphones and the internet gave the Uighurs a sense of their own identity – but now the Chinese state is using technology to strip them of it.
By Darren Byler

In mid-2017, Alim, a Uighur man in his 20s, returned to China from studying abroad. As soon as he landed back in the country, he was pulled off the plane by police officers. He was told his trip abroad meant that he was now under suspicion of being “unsafe”. The police administered what they call a “health check”, which involved collecting several types of biometric data, including DNA, blood type, fingerprints, voice recordings and face scans – a process that all adults in the Uighur autonomous region of Xinjiang, in north-west China, are expected to undergo.

After his “health check”, Alim was transported to one of the hundreds of detention centres that dot north-west China. These centres have become an important part of what Xi Jinping’s government calls the “people’s war on terror”, a campaign launched in 2014, which focuses on Xinjiang, a region with a population of roughly 25 million people, just under half of whom are Uighur Muslims. As part of this campaign, the Chinese government has come to treat almost all expressions of Uighur Islamic faith as signs of potential religious extremism and ethnic separatism. Since 2017 alone, more than 1 million Turkic Muslims, including Uighurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and others, have moved through detention centres. Continue reading