Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Academic restrictions in China

As reported recently at a meeting of the American Political Science Association, a study has revealed that restrictions of various sorts are real for China scholars but the frequency of such incidents is lower than some might have anticipated - 9% of the sample of 500 individuals in the sample study. The term used for the 9% is that they were "taken to tea" by authorities but only 5% reported having been denied visas in relation to their work. This level of reported intervention by Chinese authorities is low compared to the fact that 53% of the China scholars consider their research somewhat politically sensitive and 14% consider it highly sensitive.

The authors of the paper on academic restriction of China Scholars, Sheena Chestnut Greitens and Rory Truex, indicate that "Our own conclusion is that the risks of research conduct in China are uncertain, highly individualized, and often not easily discernible from public information.

In addition to evidence that China scholars or scholars in China may be subject to being "taken to tea" or otherwise restricted in their work, the issue of self-censorship perhaps presents the greater difficulty. Whether or not a scholar is being watched or pressured, the perception of being watched can have a deep impact on what is researched and published.

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