Liberal academics fear growing censorship

The plight of China’s universities remains a far cry from the excesses of the Mao era. But the clampdown under Xi Jinping still represents a disheartening turn for those who had hoped a period of greater relaxation was on the horizon, writes Tom Phillips for the Guardian.

“I haven’t seen it so bad since the 1980s,” said Tim Cheek, a historian from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who is an expert on Chinese intellectual life. Cheek said liberal Chinese academics were now facing the most pressure since Western ideas and practices were attacked by the anti-spiritual pollution and anti-bourgeois liberalisation campaigns of the 1980s.

Chen Hongguo, a former law professor at the Northwest University of Politics and Law in Xi’an, traced the chill back to early 2013 when an internal Communist Party communiqué called Document Number 9 began to circulate. The confidential directive warned that for the party to retain power, seven “mistaken ways of thinking” needed countering – including human rights, judicial independence and multi-party democracy.
Full report on the Guardian site