11/19/2013

How China determines who gets to be the prominent Chinese academic experts in US

Fred Hiatt has this at the Washington Post:

. . . Last month, a cultural attache in the Chinese embassy in Washington invited Perry Link to attend a Forum of Overseas Sinologists in Beijing in December. 
Given that Link is one of America’s eminent China scholars, this might not be surprising — except that he had not received a visa to enter China since 1996 for reasons the Chinese have never explained. 
Link replied that he would be interested in attending, but would he receive a visa? 
Absolutely, he was told. 
You’re sure? Link e-mailed back. 
Of course, the attache replied. Just send your passport, “and I can help you to finish the visa application.” 
Link sent his passport and application, and on Nov. 8 received the following message: “After review, I’d like to inform you that you will not be invited to the forum.” 
The Lucy-and-the-football quality of this exchange is striking, but Link is far from the only foreign scholar to be blacklisted. In 2011, 13 respected academics who had contributed chapters to a book on Xinjiang, a province of western China that is home to a restive Muslim minority, found themselves banned
Link, who has forged a distinguished careerat Princeton and the University of California at Riverside can survive a visa ban. But for a young anthropologist seeking tenure, the inability to do field research could be terminal. And because China never explains its refusals or spells out what kind of scholarship is disqualifying, the result is a kind of self-censorship and narrowing of research topics that is damaging even if impossible to quantify. . . .
My own research on using schooling to instill indoctrination is available here.

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