Graphic courtesy of @anonriddler/twitter
It appears as if the global outcry at the censorship applied by Cambridge University Press (CUP) at the behest of the Chinese regime has resulted in a volte face by the respected publisher. An announcement issued 8/21 by Cambridge University, which owns CUP, made clear it was making publications previously blocked available again. A decision no doubt much to the annoyance of China’s authorities.
The international response to the censorship applied by CUP was intense, drawing severe criticism from across the academic community and human rights advocates. It also generated action from Anonymous activists who targeted the website of CUP taking it offline during the course of two days. Meanwhile a statement has been posted on Twitter by #Op_Tibet and #anons4TIBET which welcomes the decision but warns Cambridge University Press that further action will result if any more censorship is applied. Thanks to @AnonymousTibet for the headsup on this information.
Cambridge University has a tradition of accommodating the Chinese regime, we need only to recall a willingness of Trinity College to host in 2013 prominent members of China’s Ministry of Public Security. On the condition from conference organizers that no mention of human rights or issues such as Tibet were permitted!
Now the University is embroiled in another China-linked controversy, as Cambridge University Press (CUP) has conformed to a demand from the Chinese authorities to block online access to journals and other data. Unsurprisingly the subject areas targeted for such censorship include Tiananmen, the so-called Cultural Revolution, Tibet, East Turkistan, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.
In response to the international concern and outrage which has followed CUP has issued a statement which contains the following:
“The issue of censorship in China…is not short term issue and therefore requires a longer term approach.….we will continue to take every opportunity to influence this agenda”. Emphasis added. (tweeted by @CambridgeUP 8/8/2017)
Such a response has a worrying similarity to comments drafted by the British equivalent of the State Department, which also masks its appeasement of China with arguments of ‘constructive engagement’ and being a ‘force of moderation’. In truth however such change never materializes, the human rights atrocities continue, forced labor camps flourish, women forcibly sterilized, while Tibetans are brutally denied their cultural and national freedom.
Cambridge University Press is hiding behind the same self-serving justification, yet in doing so it is in contradiction to the values of human rights and freedom of thought it claims to champion.
“Freedom of thought and expression underpin what we as publishers believe in..” (tweeted by @CambridgeUP 8/8/2017)
Really? From where most reasonable and intelligent folks are standing CPU looks to be in an indefensible position. Being actively complicit in censorship on the inane suggestion that at some undetermined future point its engagement with China’s regime can realize ‘progress’. Meanwhile blood-stained cash from China continues to fund the world of academia and Cambridge University no doubt benefits from its more than cordial relations with the Chinese authorities and numerous companies and institutions!