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

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid