At a time when American news organizations' reporters have been denied renewals of visas by China this is sure to raise the heat as American newspapers and political leaders press China to allow continued open and often blunt reporting about China. As an exchange scholar at East China University of Political Science & Law I have encountered no conflicts during my two extended visits. My field - torts and product liability - is important for rule of law. But my work does not touch on "sensitive" topics like one-party rule. - gwc
Chinese Law Professor who Opposed One-Party Rule is Fired - NY Times
by Andrew Jacobs
BEIJING — Officials at one of China’s most respected universities have reportedly fired an outspoken legal scholar for advocating free speech and for repeatedly calling on the government to abide by its own Constitution.
Zhang Xuezhong, who teaches at the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai, said administrators notified him on Monday that he would be dismissed after he refused to apologize for writings that championed the protections guaranteed by China’s Constitution. Professor Zhang’s teaching privileges were temporarily suspended in August after the publication of an article detailing the Communist Party’s growing hostility to the nation’s legal system.
“I told them I had made no mistakes whatsoever,” he said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “I’m just a university faculty member who expresses his own opinions, thoughts and proposals, which is absolutely my right. This is an out-and-out witch hunt.”
University officials did not respond to telephone calls and a fax seeking comment. But in an internal school memo that Professor Zhang obtained and circulated online Tuesday, officials also cited an e-book he wrote this year called “New Common Sense: The Nature and Consequences of One-Party Dictatorship.” According to the notice, Mr. Zhang violated university rules by “forcibly disseminating his political views among the faculty and using his status as a teacher to spread his political views among students.”
The dismissal is sure to send a chill through Chinese academia, which has come under increasing pressure amid an ideological campaign that seeks to rein in liberalism and promote obedience to the ruling Communist Party. At a time when American educational institutions are rushing to open Chinese branches and build partnerships with local universities, Professor Zhang’s removal is also likely to draw renewed attention to the political constraints that hamper open discourse at even the most respected Chinese schools.