China Banning U.S. Professors Elicits Silence From Colleges Employing Them

A group of scholars has suffered serious professional consequences for their joint authorship of a 2004 book on Xinjiang, and some say the American colleges at which they work have been less than supportive. As academic ties increase, such cases may become more common. From Bloomberg:

They call themselves the “Xinjiang 13.” They have been denied permission to enter China, prohibited from flying on a Chinese airline and pressured to adopt China- friendly views. To return to China, two wrote statements disavowing support for the independence movement in Xinjiang province.

They aren’t exiled Chinese dissidents. They are American scholars from universities, such as Georgetown and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who have suffered a backlash from China unprecedented in academia since diplomatic relations resumed in 1979. Their offense was co-writing “Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland,” a 484-page paperback published in 2004 ….

Colleges employing the Xinjiang scholars took no collective action, and most were reluctant to press Chinese authorities about individual cases. Dartmouth almost fired Rudelson because he couldn’t go to China, he and Rieser said.

“As a group, most of us have been very disappointed in the colleges’ and universities’ lack of sympathy and support,” said Dru Gladney, an anthropology professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California, who described himself and his American co-authors as the “Xinjiang 13.” Colleges are “so eager to jump on the China bandwagon, they put financial interests ahead of academic freedom.”

See also past posts on Xinjiang and academic freedom at CDT.