News / Asia

Chinese Professor Fired After Criticizing President, Not Recanting

FILE - China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.
FILE - China's President Xi Jinping stands next to a Chinese national flag during a welcoming ceremony at the Great Hall of the People, in Beijing, Nov. 13, 2013.
Reuters
A Chinese university has fired a professor for failing to admit wrongdoing with regards to posting an article criticizing President Xi Jinping, the professor claimed on Wednesday, underscoring questions about academic freedoms for foreign colleges setting up shop in China.
 
Many liberals had hoped that the new government under Xi, who became president in March, would be more tolerant of calls for political reform.
 
However, those hopes have been dashed following the sacking of law professor Zhang Xuezhong Monday by the East China University of Political Science and Law. The Shanghai-based university’s decision appeared to be fresh evidence the ruling party is hardening its stance toward dissent.
 
The sacking follows the dismissal of liberal Peking University economist Xia Yeliang in October for blog posts calling for democratic reforms and rule of law in China.
 
Zhang's article, which he posted in June, and an online book he wrote entitled “New Common Sense”, which was critical of Communist Party rule, rankled authorities. Zhang said university officials tried on several occasions to get him to recant.
 
He was suspended from teaching in August. Last month, law department and human resources officials asked if he had learned his lesson and would admit wrongdoing, he said on Wednesday.
 
“I said I did nothing wrong, so there's nothing to admit to,” he said.
 
The dean of the law school summoned him and said on Monday that the school administration had decided he was unfit to continue as a teacher in the law department.
 
“I told him that for a university to persecute a teacher based on his views or thoughts is a serious public event. It could become a scandal of historic proportions,” said Zhang, 36, who also practices human rights law.
 
A law school official with the same surname declined to comment when contacted by telephone. Calls to the university's information and propaganda office went unanswered.
 
Zhang's June article, “The Origin and the Perils of the Anti-constitutionalism Campaign of 2013”, criticized Xi, who is also the chief of the Communist Party, as anti-constitutional, anti-free media and anti-judicial independence. His online book, “New Common Sense”, claims one-party rule is illegal.
 
In November, Xi emerged from a key policy meeting of top Communist Party officials with what analysts said was a strengthened mandate. The meeting endorsed sweeping economic reforms but no political opening.
 
Foreign universities have rushed to set up partnerships and branch campuses in China. The zeal to gain access to the huge education market has raised questions over whether prestigious schools would have to sacrifice academic freedoms under tightly government-controlled curricula.
 
The website of East China University of Political Science and Law boasts “good working relationships” with dozens of schools, including the University of Maryland, St. Louis University, Willamette University and Golden State University.
 
Xia's case drew international attention when it broke, including from faculty members at Wellesley College in Massachusetts, which has an exchange program with Peking University.
 
More than 130 members of the Wellesley faculty wrote an open letter to Peking University officials in September, saying they would ask college administrators to cancel the exchange program if Xia was fired for political reasons.

You May Like

South Korea Divided on Response to North’s Cyber Attack

In past five years, officials in Seoul have accused Pyongyang of hacking into banks, government websites, causing chaos and inflicting millions of dollars in damages More

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Bentiu

Residents have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy, but planning for the future remains uncertain as fear of attacks looms More

2015 Could Be Watershed for Syria Conflict

Republican control of US Senate in January could lead to more aggressive policy against IS militants in Syria - and against regime of Bashar al-Assad More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil Wari
X
Adam Bailes
December 22, 2014 3:45 PM
In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Ugandan Doctors Aid Victims of Sudan's Civil War

In Sudan's state of South Kordofan, the number of amputees as result of civil war is in the thousands, but few have access to sufficient medical help. Adam Bailes recently visited the area and says a small team of Ugandan doctors has been providing remote help, producing new prosthetic limbs for those in need.
Video

Video Jane Monheit Christmas Special

Chanteuse Jane Monheit sings the holiday classic “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” and explains why it’s her favorite song of the season.
Video

Video Calm Amid Fear in Daily Life in S. Sudan’s Town of Bentiu

Six months ago, Bentiu was a ghost town. The capital of northern Unity State, near South Sudan’s important oil fields, had changed hands several times in fighting between government forces and rebels. Calm returned in November and since then, residents of Bentiu have been trying to regain some sense of normalcy. Bentiu’s market has reopened there are plans to start school again. But fears of new attacks hang heavy, as Benno Muchler reports from Bentiu.
Video

Video US Business Groups Press for Greater Access to Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to do all he can to ease restrictions on U.S. trade, travel and financial activities with Cuba has drawn criticism from some conservatives and Republicans. People who bring tourists to the island and farmers who want to sell more food to Cuba, however, think they can do a lot more business with Cuba. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.

All About America

AppleAndroid