Cambridge University warned against complying with Chinese censorship demands

Cambridge University warned against complying with Chinese censorship demands

Cambridge University has been warned against censoring content

Monday, August 21, 2017

Academics are warning Cambridge University Press that it must reject China's censorship demands or its publications will be boycotted.

A petition was published today (August 21) which criticised China's attempt to “export its censorship on topics that do not fit its preferred narrative," according to The Guardian.

It was previously revealed that Cambridge University Press blocked online access to more than 300 articles in its China Quarterly journal in order to comply with Chinese regulations.

Articles that were blocked addressed topics such as the Tiananmen massacre, Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution and claims of a personality cult developing around President Xi Jinping.

The petition was started by an economics professor at Peking University, Christopher Balding, who explained that he wanted the petition to alert people to China's increased censorship efforts.

Balding said: “I think this is an increasing problem that really needs to be addressed much more forcefully by the international academic community.

“Standing up to the Chinese government involves definite costs. It is not an easy thing to do. There will be potentially punitive measures taken against you. But if it is a principle that is right in the UK and if it is right in the US, then it should also be right in China."

One of the writers whose work was blocked in the move, Suzanne Pepper, also said: “It makes them [Cambridge] complicit, accomplices in the fine art of censorship, which we are all supposed to deplore."

But Communist-controlled newspaper The Global Times has claimed censorship in China is a security measure and that if Western institutions don't want to comply "they can stop engaging with us.

“If they think China’s internet market is so important that they can’t miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way."