The following was written by Jason Morgan, currently an associate professor at Reitaku University in Kashiwa, Japan. Morgan previously contributed to The College Fix as a Ph.D. candidate at UW-Madison.
OPINION: UW Madison relies on China for money, so it looks the other way when it comes to its atrocities
On August 22, 2019, University of Wisconsin professor emeritus and China expert Edward Friedman sent an e-mail to John Lucas, assistant vice chancellor in the office of UW chancellor Rebecca Blank.
Friedman wanted to know why the chancellor insisted on using the term “Greater China, a term that would be rejected by Taiwanese.”
Speaking up for those who have suffered at the hands of “Greater China” imperialists, Friedman went on to write “UW should distinguish students from the authoritarian CCP’s [Chinese Communist Party] PRC [People’s Republic of China] and from democratic Taiwan and a struggling Hong Kong.” Professor Friedman implored the chancellor to “face the reality of the complex challenges coming from the CCP state, whose bullying is feared throughout the Indo‐Pacific.”
The term “Greater China,” which the chancellor had used in an article posted on the chancellor’s UW page that same day, is the Manifest Destiny of Asia, and denotes the ethnic takeover of half a continent and beyond by Han Chinese. It is a term that strikes fear in the hearts of non-Han everywhere within reach of the Chinese ethnonationalist superstate.
Friedman raised an important point. And he was not alone. According to the results of a public records act request I filed with the university, students, alumni, and others began e-mailing the chancellor’s office requesting that the term “Greater China” be changed. One Taiwanese alumni, for instance, wrote to the chancellor on August 26, pointing out that Taiwan is not a part of China.
UW-Madison ignores China’s racism and crimes against humanity
Chancellor Blank has since scrubbed any mention of “Greater China” from her post, but the term was already used extensively by Blank and the UW in speeches, presentations, interior documents, and e-mails, and even in statistics tallying students from Taiwan and Hong Kong under the “Greater China” category.
The University of Wisconsin’s assistance in China’s racist imperialism hardly ends with the use of terminology favored by Han supremacists in Beijing. The University of Wisconsin’s courting of China has been lavish, despite the well-publicized and egregious crimes against humanity carried out by the People’s Republic of China.
For example, the Wisconsin China Initiative is a major undertaking by the UW, started in 2007 with such goals as building “an effective platform for UW engagement with the China region” and serving “the Wisconsin Idea by disseminating knowledge beyond the classroom.”
The “Greater China” paradigm is baked into the initiative: the UW boasts of currently enrolling over 3,200 degree-seeking students from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, although Taiwan and Singapore are not part of China and Hongkongers increasingly reject the association, as well. Why categorize unrelated nationalities on the basis of Beijing’s racialist paradigm?
The China Initiative came at a very convenient time for the PRC. For example, as the Chinese government sent spies to fan out across American academic institutions and to infiltrate US government programs, and as Chinese firms engaged in perhaps the largest global heist of corporate secrets and intellectual property in history, the UW Law School hosted a conference on intellectual property at universities in China and the United States. It is very useful to have the cover of the University of Wisconsin when professors at Harvard are being rolled up by the FBI for spying for Beijing.
And as the Chinese coronavirus ravaged the world, the UW, again under the auspices of the Wisconsin China Initiative, helpfully convened a panel to “evaluate rumors about the coronavirus outbreak across China.”
UW students and faculty sent supplies to Wuhan to help with the coronavirus outbreak there, but there was no mention of the cover-up by the PRC which led to perhaps 50,000 deaths in Wuhan alone and many more around the world. Putting a smiling face on dictatorial crimes against humanity seems to be something at which the University of Wisconsin excels.
Slavery and forced abortions—Rebecca Blank remains silent
Running PR operations for a dictatorship is a win-win situation for both the UW and China. Relationships with leading U.S. universities such as the University of Wisconsin help legitimate China as a normal country, and not a slaveocracy whose 1.4 billion citizens have never elected a political leader, have no freedom of speech, and are frequently “disappeared” even for mild criticisms of the communist dictatorship.
As UW journalism professors complained about Trump, journalists in China were being disappeared by the truckload. As UW professors and administrators banqueted with high officials in China, the Chinese people themselves were enduring forced abortions, forced sterilizations, outright infanticide, and overall draconian population control. Not mentioning these things guarantees the UW continued access to lucrative partnerships with the Chinese government and Chinese universities (which are also controlled by the Communist Party and staffed with party cadres).
Perhaps this is why Chancellor Blank neglected to raise with her Chinese counterparts the issue of millions of Muslims being held in Chinese-run concentration camps in East Turkestan. Muslims in China already live in religious ghettoes on the outskirts of big cities, but they are the lucky ones. Their co-religionists are herded into the Chinese versions of Auschwitz and Dachau where they are “re-educated” (much like UW students) in the glories of communism. Torture is common. During the Iraq War, UW professors virtue-signalled their opposition to waterboarding, but so far have remained silent about the forced-labor prison camps in China’s northwest. In a talking points memo, Blank’s handlers urged her to respond to questions about concentration camps by saying, “At UW-Madison, we appreciate diverse cultures, backgrounds, and viewpoints.”
Somehow Chancellor Blank also apparently failed to remonstrate with her Chinese counterparts over the fact that the People’s Republic of China has persecuted the peaceful religious group Falun Gong for decades, and is now trafficking in organs that it obtains by killing and dissecting Falun Gong adherents. This is not the work of a rogue group of psychopaths, but of the central government of the People’s Republic of China. It continues to this day. Chancellor Blank was probably spared a tour of the operating rooms where political prisoners are vivisected. But she knows it goes on. On August 18, 2019, Laurie Leininger, writing “on behalf of the Office of the Provost [of the] University of Wisconsin-Madison,” forwarded to John Lucas a detailed report from Susie Hughes, the executive director at the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China, revealing the full range of horrors perpetrated by the PRC. And Blank said nothing.
And Chancellor Blank said nothing to her Chinese counterparts about policies which are arguably the most systematically racist of any country on the planet. Recent news reports that the Chinese city of Guangzhou had “banned black people” were not outliers. Places of business in China discriminate as a matter of course, and people of African descent living in China routinely marvel at the depths of Han racism. African diplomats in China have had to take the stunning step in recent days of meeting with top government officials in Beijing to ask that Chinese cities stop posting signs banning black people from entering establishments, stop ejecting black people from hotels, and stop denying black people medical care. All the UW seems concerned about is the usual “immigrant scapegoating” in America.
‘Diversity’ and money at American universities
Why would a university which has made “diversity” the reason for its existence go out of its way to cultivate relations with a communist dictatorship guilty of several of the worst genocides of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries? Why would a faculty which worked itself into a frenzy over a “fake noose” incident at a football game—with one enterprising professor winning the Woke Olympics by writing up a history of the KKK at the UW—court a country where the racism is along the lines of South Africa’s under Apartheid? Why do the professors who scream about racism from a hundred years ago say absolutely nothing about racism in the PRC today?
As a Los Angeles Times op-ed put it in 2018, “There’s Jim Crow in China, but no one seems to care.”
At first blush, it seems impossible to answer these questions. The University of Wisconsin has an entire diversity office, after all, employing dozens of diversity specialists who might be expected to raise a red flag. A random sampling of the diversity lineup reveals the following positions, none of which was able to stop Chancellor Blank from toadying to Beijing:
-Deputy Vice Chancellor for Diversity and Inclusion & Chief Diversity Officer
-Diversity and Climate Researcher
-Diversity and Climate Researcher and Projects Director
-Diversity Policy and Planning Analyst
-Director of STEM Initiatives
-Senior Special Assistant for Workforce Equity
-Diversity Education and Outreach Deputy
-Deputy Title IX Coordinator
-Assistant Dean for Student Diversity Programs, School of Education
-Director of Diversity Research and Initiatives, College of Engineering
-Assistant Dean for Minority Student Affairs, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
-Assistant Dean of Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives, School of Pharmacy
-Director of Multicultural Affairs, School of Medicine and Public Health
The list goes on and on. Why did institutional diversity fail to prevent the University of Wisconsin’s becoming a material aid to a state which is terrorizing its neighbors and inflicting a vision of racial purity on more than a billion people?
To ask the question is to answer it. The flotilla of diversocrats, deans, and deanlets costs the university millions of dollars a year, as do the programs, initiatives, drives, awareness-raising campaigns, hate-and-bias investigations, special speaker events, celebrations, galas, and rainbow-tie affairs that the University of Wisconsin budgets. Chief Diversity Officer Patrick Sims brings in nearly $250,000 in salary. Blank herself earns fifty dollars shy of $600,000 a year, well over double the salary of the chief justice of the United States Supreme Court.
Someone has to pay for all of this. In-state tuition is already set well above the ability of the average family to afford, and the student loan load nationwide is around 1.5 trillion dollars. So, there is little money left to wring out of Wisconsin families. Chancellor Blank fought hard back in 2015 to keep the funds flowing from the trade that the UW does in fetal tissue, but there are only so many dead babies to sell and money doesn’t grow on trees.
The shortfall gets made up by coaxing young people from “Greater China” to spend four years in Madison paying out-of-state tuition, and by having Chinese universities enter into agreements with the UW on research and student exchanges. Virtually the only way to be able to afford the luxury in China of sending one’s child to study in America is to have connections to the Communist Party. Therefore, it becomes a part of Chancellor Blank’s job—her priority, in many ways—to clink glasses with powerful Chinese communists (from the Chinese Ministry of Education and Jiangsu Provincial Government, to give just two examples from Blank’s May, 2019 tribute mission to China) and hope that they will deign to send some of their largesse her way.
The fundraising party continues
Blank was not alone in her efforts, of course. UW professors deliver gala speeches lauding China, affiliated faculty and even family members tag along for the grand tour of the Far East, and the full entourage of deanlets and secretaries and baggage carriers all accompany Chancellor Blank on her supplication visits to Xanadu. Nor was Blank the first chancellor to go prospecting for gold in the Middle Kingdom. In the reply that John Lucas wrote to Prof. Friedman on August 22, 2019, Lucas reminisced that they had had “quite an adventure” on a visit to China with former chancellor Biddy Martin, who stepped down in 2011. Visits to China, then, are one of the perks of knowing how to play the diversity and influence game at a Big Ten university.
IMAGE: EQ Roy / Shutterstock