Economist Xia Yeliang (夏业良) will find out next month if his colleagues decide to vote him out of Peking University (PKU) due to online comments he made on censorship that crossed the party line. Xia was an original drafter and cosigner of Charter 08, the document calling for personal freedoms that led to the arrest of Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiabo. In a televised interview, Xia told LinkAsia that his fellow faculty members will likely obey the party but that he has received support in private, adding that if PKU’s president refuses to talk with him, he will wear a slogan on his chest and say, “I need a job, I need a place to live”:
Recently, the Committee Of Concerned Scientists sent a support letter for Xia to newly-appointed PKU President Wang Enge, a well-known physicist and member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences:
We are an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write now in concern for Professor Xia Yeliang of Peking University.
As fellow physicists and members of the American Physical Society, which honored you in 2007, we welcome your accession to the prestigious post of University President. As academics, we all support your goal of making your university a world -class seat of learning and research, as you promised in your remarks upon being appointed. We therefore urge you to prevent a vote by your faculty that would punish Professor Xia, one of your respected academic colleagues, for his opinions, and deprive Peking University of his expertise. [Source]
Xia also spoke in a recorded interview with Wellesley College professors Susan Reverby and Thomas Cushman about the difficulties he’s facing and the college’s Memorandum of Understanding on academic exchanges with PKU. He will leave Stanford University where he’s a visiting scholar for Beijing to defend his job at the end of the month.