U.S. Scholars Say their Book on China Led to Travel Ban
Thirteen U.S.-based scholars who collaborated on a book about Xinjiang have since been barred from traveling to China, the Washington Post reports:
The academics have taken to calling themselves the Xinjiang 13 to emphasize their shared misfortune. Seven years ago, they assembled a book about Xinjiang, a vast region of western China that has a large Muslim population and an occasionally violent separatist movement.
They say their book triggered a backlash from the Chinese government because of its sensitive topic. Contributors have repeatedly been refused visas, thwarted from returning to the region that is the focus of their careers.
“It took us a couple of years to figure out that all 13 of us were banned,” said Dru Gladney, an anthropology professor at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif., who contributed two chapters on politics to the 2004 book. “And now China is taking off, and we can’t go. It’s devastating.”
The authors of “Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland” said in recent interviews that the diplomatic impasse is the broadest attack on academic freedom since the United States established diplomatic relations with Communist-led China in 1979.