The decision to obey China and remove some 300 sensitive articles sparked international criticism and an online petition to boycott the publishing house. " It is disturbing,” says one scholar, “that China is attempting to export its censorship." For Joseph Cheng, the latter "shows a lack of respect for academic freedom worldwide, and ultimately the huge feeling of insecurity that prevails in the Chinese leadership.”
Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Cambridge University Press (CPU) has reversed itself a few days after it had announced its decision to remove more 300 articles on its Chinese website in compliance with a Chinese government request.
"We can now confirm that all the articles have been re-posted on CUP's internet portals in China & can be downloaded free of charge," the journal said via its Twitter account on Monday.
Last week, at the request of the Chinese General Administration for Press and Publication, CPU had removed more than 300 articles published by China Quarterly, one of the most prestigious publications on China and Taiwan.
Most of the articles concerned Tiananmen, the Cultural Revolution, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, etc. The material had been published from 1960 onward, until last month.
CPU’s about-face follows an outcry among China scholars and academics, both in and outside of China.
Christopher Balding of the Peking University HSBC Business School in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen launched an online petition against CPU’s decision to blow to the demands of the Chinese Communist Party.
"As academics, we believe in the free and open exchange of ideas and information on all topics not just those we agree with," Blading’s petition said. "It is disturbing to academics and universities worldwide that China is attempting to export its censorship on topics that do not fit its preferred narrative."
Despite the risks associated with his courageous action, Balding went on to say, “There’s been a significant crackdown in academic censorship and control over the past couple of years, trying to impose definitely more limitations on Chinese scholars and scholars working in China”.
"The Chinese government gives the impression of the sense of entitlement that comes from great wealth, to the extent that they don't even have to bother with international norms," said Joseph Cheng, former political science professor at Hong Kong's City University, speaking to Radio Free Asia.
"This shows a lack of respect for academic freedom worldwide, and ultimately the huge feeling of insecurity that prevails in the Chinese leadership."