China is restricting the export of science

“From Yojana Sharma in University World News (July 20, 2018): ‘China’s new regulations restricting the ‘export’ of scientific data collected within the country and asserting that any research for publication in international journals must first be approved by a new, yet to be set up authority, are causing uncertainty and concern for many researchers who are working in collaboration with China.’ …

But before Americans pile on, as if this kind of blunder could never occur in a country with a constitutional right to freedom of the press, recall a similar move by the George W. Bush administration during the height of paranoia after the 9/11 attacks….”

Facing Censorship: A Statement of Guiding Principles

“As scholarly publishers we believe in the free exchange of ideas. As university presses, we are especially vigilant defenders of academic freedom because it is fundamental to the work we do. In this, we stand with our universities, our authors, the greater scholarly community, and with each other against all restrictions imposed on the dissemination of our work….

Because of the increasingly digital nature of scholarly communications, requests to restrict access to specific elements of a larger digital collection within a given market seem likely to become a more common form of attempts at government censorship. AUPresses encourages university presses generally to withhold their consent to any such request, whether made directly or via a third-party aggregator, even if doing so results in the unavailability of the entire digital collection within that market….”

 

Academics Protest China’s Censorship Requests | The Scientist Magazine®

“Scholars have formed a peer-review boycott to encourage journals to take a firm stance against requests to cull sensitive articles….More than 1,000 people from around the world have signed a petition calling on major journal publishers not to censor their offerings within China in response to governmental pressure. The petition pledges a peer-review boycott, stating, “we will not agree to provide peer review service until editors confirm that their publications do not censor content in the [People’s Republic of China], and we call on all others to do so as well.” …”

Second academic journal, publisher say pressed to censor China content, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

“A second academic journal has received requests to censor content in China, following an international outcry after Cambridge University Press (CUP) temporarily agreed to block sensitive articles from another publication under pressure from Beijing.

The United States-based Association for Asian Studies (AAS) said Tuesday (Aug 22) that CUP, its online publisher, had received a request to remove 100 articles from the Journal of Asian Studies.

It was the second time in days that a journal published by CUP revealed that it had received such a demand from China….

Separately on Tuesday, LexisNexis, a provider of legal, regulatory and business information, said it had withdrawn two products from the Chinese market in March this year after it was asked to remove some content.  “Earlier this year LexisNexis Business Insight Solutions in China was asked to remove some content from its database,”LexisNexis said in a statement. 

“In March 2017, the company withdrew two products (Nexis and LexisNexis Academic) from the Chinese market.” LexisNexis is owned by information group Relx. …”

Second academic journal, publisher say pressed to censor China content, East Asia News & Top Stories – The Straits Times

“A second academic journal has received requests to censor content in China, following an international outcry after Cambridge University Press (CUP) temporarily agreed to block sensitive articles from another publication under pressure from Beijing.

The United States-based Association for Asian Studies (AAS) said Tuesday (Aug 22) that CUP, its online publisher, had received a request to remove 100 articles from the Journal of Asian Studies.

It was the second time in days that a journal published by CUP revealed that it had received such a demand from China….

Separately on Tuesday, LexisNexis, a provider of legal, regulatory and business information, said it had withdrawn two products from the Chinese market in March this year after it was asked to remove some content.  “Earlier this year LexisNexis Business Insight Solutions in China was asked to remove some content from its database,”LexisNexis said in a statement. 

“In March 2017, the company withdrew two products (Nexis and LexisNexis Academic) from the Chinese market.” LexisNexis is owned by information group Relx. …”

Petition · Peer Review Boycott of Academic Publications that Censor Content in China · Change.org

“While we acknowledge that it can be difficult to discern which publications or their holding companies are censoring in China, we call for a peer review boycott of any non-PRC-based academic publication known to be censoring its content in the People’s Republic of China. From now on, we will not agree to provide peer review service until editors confirm that their publications do not censor content in the PRC, and we call on all others to do so as well….”

Dude, where’s my paper? – China Policy Institute: Analysis

“I never imagined that the paper I wrote would end up on a list of articles pulled from publication in China by Springer Nature. When another of my articles, “Chen Suibian: On independence” featured on the list of China Quarterly publications that the Chinese authorities required Cambridge University Press to remove from their website in China, I could at least perceive the logic to it….Except, as exemplified by Cambridge University Press’ u-turn, where reputational damage prompts (let’s give benefit of the doubt) a reconsideration of principles. It remains to be seen how Springer Nature will respond, although trade presses have somewhat different considerations than university presses….”

Dude, where’s my paper? – China Policy Institute: Analysis

“I never imagined that the paper I wrote would end up on a list of articles pulled from publication in China by Springer Nature. When another of my articles, “Chen Suibian: On independence” featured on the list of China Quarterly publications that the Chinese authorities required Cambridge University Press to remove from their website in China, I could at least perceive the logic to it….Except, as exemplified by Cambridge University Press’ u-turn, where reputational damage prompts (let’s give benefit of the doubt) a reconsideration of principles. It remains to be seen how Springer Nature will respond, although trade presses have somewhat different considerations than university presses….”

The Chinese Communist Party has growing sway in Western universities

“In August, Cambridge University Press (CUP) acceded to a request by China’s import agency to censor a list of articles from its journal China Quarterly. CUP initially complied until an open letter by the editor of the journal caught the attention of academics and journalists, who then led an outcry on social media. CUP eventually agreed to not pre-emptively censor its articles, but many were startled by how quickly and easily such a prestigious press agreed to censor on behalf of an authoritarian government.

 

The rationale, of course, is that CUP and other presses like it wish to protect access to the Chinese market. They argue that if they censor a small portion of their offerings, then the vast majority can be accessed in China, thereby salvaging links between foreign and Chinese academics. This is the 1% argument: only 1% is censored but 99% can be accessed, so really this is not such a big problem.

 

This is disingenuous, for two reasons. First, it ignores that censorship is even more insidious and powerful when people do not know they are subject to it. By selectively pruning offerings for the Chinese market, presses lead readers to believe that the post-censorship catalogue represents the full picture of foreign perspectives on China.  Editing out so-called “sensitive” topics like the Tiananmen Square repression of 1989, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution, and studies of Tibet, Xinjiang, and Taiwan gives the false impression that the CCP view on these issues is the only legitimate one and that foreign academia agrees….”