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Chinese University Fires Professor Who Dared to Criticize Government

Prestigious U.S. universities such as NYU and Yale have launched partnerships with China in recent years. These often take the form of satellite campuses, or exchange programs, or joint campuses. U.S universities get money out of the bargain, and the chance to expand their brands internationally.

What’s remarkable about these partnerships is that America’s academic elite who so pride themselves on their liberal devotion to human rights, are willing to so easily set those human rights standards aside when it comes to expanding their brand across communist China.

For example, Peking University recently fired an economics professor, simply because that professor dared to criticize the communist government. McClatchy’s reports:

SHANGHAI — One of China’s top universities has notified an economics professor known for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government that his colleagues have voted to expel him from the institution.

The move against Xia Yeliang, who teaches at Peking University in Beijing, appears to reflect a crackdown on liberal academics that’s become more severe since President Xi Jinping came to power in March.

Several well-known universities – including the London School of Economics and Yale and Cornell in the United States – have partnerships with Peking, though few have taken up Xia’s cause. Other institutions, including New York University and Duke University, have opened campuses in China recently or are about to amid worries that they’ll sacrifice academic freedom for the sometimes lucrative opportunity to partner with Chinese institutions.

Xia said Friday that administrators at Peking University’s School of Economics had told him that his contract would be terminated at the end of January after the 30-3 vote last week approving his dismissal…

Believe me, you will never hear a peep of protest out of these U.S. institutions who have prostituted themselves in China. Why is it that the same universities that are so politically correct here in the U.S., so committed to the holy liberal sacrament of “diversity,” so impassioned in their unrelenting defense of “tolerance,” have no problem giving their endorsement to intellectual tyranny and human rights abuse in Chinese universities?

I wrote about this hypocrisy a couple of years ago in an article for NRO:

I find it remarkable that prestigious U.S. institutions of higher learning, such as NYU or Yale — which recently announced plans to open a campus in Singapore – find it so easy to partner with dictatorships, communist autocracies, and one-party authoritarian states. These are the same prestigious U.S. institutions who so pride themselves on their liberal concern for human rights. But they are too busy opening campuses to think about those things now. By leasing out their names, academic prestige and credibility to some of the most repressive governments in the world, our leading universities are showing that they place ultimate value not on the principles of liberty or the free expression of ideas, but on corporate-style expansionism, power, and the almighty dollar…

Now, with the firing of professor Xia Yeliang, we have a perfect example of the hypocrisy of the elite academic left in action–or, should I say, inaction. None of the American universities who have partnered with Peking University, such as Yale or Cornell, have lifted a finger on behalf of professor Xia.

Yale, Cornell, NYU and others, ought to be threatening to pull out of China unless the academic freedom of government critics is protected. Actually, they should never have been in China in the first place. In the current situation, to sit by, doing nothing at all, is to give the nod of approval to political tyranny.

Maybe American universities are too busy fighting against the Tea Party, Ted Cruz, Wal-Mart, the 2nd Amendment, and other perceived threats to liberalism to worry about the human rights abuses of their partners in China.

It would seem, if you are a communist government, you can do no wrong in the eyes of the American academic left. Or, at least, if they believe you’ve done wrong, they aren’t going to say or do anything about it.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

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