University defends outspoken teacher’s firing

He lectured students about the trespasses of the Communist Party, publicly belittled China’s mighty propaganda minister and issued frequent demands for an end to single-party rule. But in voting to dismiss economist Xia Yeliang from Peking University, officials say they considered only one criterion: his performance as an academic, writes Andrew Jacobs for The New York Times.

In the week since Xia was dismissed, university officials have been buffeted by criticism that their decision was in retaliation for his activism against the government. The Committee of Concerned Scientists issued a letter condemning the vote, and faculty members at a number of educational institutions around the world have been questioning their colleges’ cooperative arrangements with one of China’s best universities.

But Xia’s colleagues say such criticism is unfair, and insist that politics played no role in their decision. Three economics professors and economics dean Sun Qixiang gathered in a conference room to defend their votes, saying Xia had been repeatedly urged to improve his teaching style, which they described as deeply unpopular with students.
Full report on The New York Times site