[House Hearing, 113 Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
IS ACADEMIC FREEDOM THREATENED BY CHINA'S INFLUENCE ON U.S.
SUBCOMMITTEE ON AFRICA, GLOBAL HEALTH,
GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS, AND
COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED THIRTEENTH CONGRESS
DECEMBER 4, 2014
Serial No. 113-230
Printed for the use of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.foreignaffairs.house.gov/
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COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN AFFAIRS
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey ELIOT L. ENGEL, New York
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN, Florida ENI F.H. FALEOMAVAEGA, American
DANA ROHRABACHER, California Samoa
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio BRAD SHERMAN, California
JOE WILSON, South Carolina GREGORY W. MEEKS, New York
MICHAEL T. McCAUL, Texas ALBIO SIRES, New Jersey
TED POE, Texas GERALD E. CONNOLLY, Virginia
MATT SALMON, Arizona THEODORE E. DEUTCH, Florida
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania BRIAN HIGGINS, New York
JEFF DUNCAN, South Carolina KAREN BASS, California
ADAM KINZINGER, Illinois WILLIAM KEATING, Massachusetts
MO BROOKS, Alabama DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
TOM COTTON, Arkansas ALAN GRAYSON, Florida
PAUL COOK, California JUAN VARGAS, California
GEORGE HOLDING, North Carolina BRADLEY S. SCHNEIDER, Illinois
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas JOSEPH P. KENNEDY III,
SCOTT PERRY, Pennsylvania Massachusetts
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
RON DeSANTIS, Florida ALAN S. LOWENTHAL, California
TREY RADEL, Florida--resigned 1/27/ GRACE MENG, New York
14 deg. LOIS FRANKEL, Florida
DOUG COLLINS, Georgia TULSI GABBARD, Hawaii
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina JOAQUIN CASTRO, Texas
TED S. YOHO, Florida
LUKE MESSER, Indiana--resigned 5/
SEAN DUFFY, Wisconsin
CURT CLAWSON, Florida--
added 7/9/14 noon deg.
Amy Porter, Chief of Staff Thomas Sheehy, Staff Director
Jason Steinbaum, Democratic Staff Director
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and
CHRISTOPHER H. SMITH, New Jersey, Chairman
TOM MARINO, Pennsylvania KAREN BASS, California
RANDY K. WEBER SR., Texas DAVID CICILLINE, Rhode Island
STEVE STOCKMAN, Texas AMI BERA, California
MARK MEADOWS, North Carolina
C O N T E N T S
Perry Link, Ph.D., chancellorial chair for innovative teaching,
University of California, Riverside............................ 6
Thomas Cushman, Ph.D., Deffenbaugh de Hoyos Carlson chair in the
social sciences, Wellesley College............................. 15
Xia Yeliang, Ph.D., visiting fellow, Center for Global Liberty
and Prosperity, Cato Institute................................. 32
Sophie Richardson, Ph.D., China director, Human Rights Watch..... 40
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Perry Link, Ph.D.: Prepared statement............................ 9
Thomas Cushman, Ph.D.: Prepared statement........................ 18
Xia Yeliang, Ph.D.: Prepared statement........................... 35
Hearing notice................................................... 56
Hearing minutes.................................................. 57
The Honorable Christopher H. Smith, a Representative in Congress
from the State of New Jersey, and chairman, Subcommittee on
Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International
Organizations: Letter from members of the faculty of New York
IS ACADEMIC FREEDOM THREATENED BY CHINA'S INFLUENCE ON U.S.
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 4, 2014
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health,
Global Human Rights, and International Organizations,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
The subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 1:05 p.m., in
room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Christopher H.
Smith (chairman of the subcommittee) presiding.
Mr. Smith. The subcommittee will come to order and good
afternoon to everybody.
I welcome you here today. This hearing is the first in a
series of hearings probing the question whether China's soft
power educational initiatives are undermining academic freedom
at U.S. schools and universities.
We see it manifested primarily in two ways. The first is in
the building of satellite campuses in China or American
universities where Chinese rules of engagement are said to hold
sway, in other words, places where no criticism of the Chinese
Government or promotions of democracy and freedom are allowed.
Second, we see it in the myriad outposts of Chinese soft
power that have opened on campuses throughout the United States
and the world, the so-called Confucius Institutes whose
curricula integrates Chinese Government policy on contentious
issues such as Tibet and Taiwan and whose hiring practices
explicitly exclude Falun Gong practitioners. It should be noted
that we are seeing emerging faculty opposition to these
institutes as well as to the all too cozy and lucrative
arrangements which American universities have with institutions
affiliated with the Chinese Government.
This prompts us to ask the question: Is American education
for sale? And, if so, are U.S. colleges and universities
undermining the principle of academic freedom and, in the
process, their own credibility in exchange for China's
You know, a number of years ago, the author James Mann
wrote a book called ``The China Fantasy'' where he recounts
how, in the 1990s, some American business leaders and
government officials put forward the fantasy that free trade
with China would be the catalyst for political liberalism.
I have been to China many times. I was in China almost
immediately after the Tiananmen Square massacre. At one of the
meetings in the early 1990s with American businessmen and,
despite the ongoing jailing and executions of dissidents, these
businessmen in China told me that if we just trade a little
more, the dictatorship will somehow matriculate into a
democracy. As we all know now, China has failed to democratize,
despite increases in the standard of living by many, but
certainly not all of its citizens.
Political repression is an all too common occurrence. I
have chaired now to date almost 50 Congressional hearings on
Chinese human rights abuses. It is not getting better. It is
getting demonstrably worse, especially under Xi Jinping. Yet
U.S. policy toward China continues to overlook abuses of
fundamental human rights for the sake of business opportunities
and economic interests.
But what about U.S. universities who often tout their
adherence to higher ideals and equate their nonprofit status as
a badge of good citizenship, which puts them above reproach.
Perhaps they, too, are engaged in their own version of ``The
China Fantasy,'' willing to accept limitations in the very
principles and freedoms that are the foundation of the U.S.
system of higher education, justifying quiet compromises that
they would never entertain at home by telling themselves that
they are helping to bring about change in China.
As Dr. Perry Link brilliantly argues, these compromises
often take the form of self-censorship about what universities
and faculty teach, who they invite to speak, what fellows they
accept in residence. So long as the dragon is not provoked,
they think they will be allowed to continue doing their work,
slowly changing China from the inside. But are these American
universities changing China or is China changing these American
What is the reason that New York University, for example,
terminated the fellowship of a world-class human rights
advocate and hero, Chen Guangcheng? NYU was one of those
prestigious universities for which China built a campus, a
satellite of the University of Shanghai. Though the Chinese
Government laid out the funds--and it was a huge amount of
money--the transaction involved a moral cost. As certain
members of the NYU faculty wrote in a letter to the university
board of trustees, the circumstances surrounding the launch of
an NYU satellite campus in Shanghai and the ending of Mr.
Chen's residence created what they called ``a public
perception, accurate or otherwise, that NYU made commitments in
order to operate in China.''
I would like, without any objection, to include in the
record the letter from the NYU faculty. And without objection,
it is so ordered.
I want to note very clearly that we have repeatedly invited
NYU's president and key faculty to testify before this
subcommittee. And so far, without any success, on five separate
occasions, we gave NYU 15 different dates to appear here, to
answer serious questions about their relationship with China
and, so far, they have begged off on each and every one of
This is the first of a series of hearings. I can tell you,
we will re-invite NYU and other institutions of higher learning
to give an account, to tell us exactly what are those terms and
conditions and whether or not they are being muzzled and
stifled when it comes to human rights and democracy and other
basic freedoms. And I do hope they will come.
On a personal note, I spent considerable time with Chen
Guangcheng when he first came to the United States, having
worked on his case since 2004, which included four
congressional hearings exclusively dedicated to his freedom. At
two of those hearings, he phoned in from the hospital where he
was after he was kicked out of the U.S. Embassy. And at the
last one, he said, I want to come to the United States. The
next day, the Chinese Government granted him that request.
However, it is my impression that the NYU officials and
others sought to isolate him from supporters viewed as too
conservative or those they considered Chinese dissidents. We
may never know if NYU experienced what Chen himself termed as
persistent--and these are his words--``persistent and direct
pressure from China to oust him'' or if it was simply an act of
prudent self-censorship to keep in Beijing's good graces. I
don't know the answer. But it is my conviction that self-
censorship and the chilling effect that this has had is even
more pernicious a threat to fundamental freedoms and to the
principle of academic freedom.
One of our witnesses, again, Dr. Perry Link, has made this
case repeatedly over the years drawing on his own personal
experiences. And I thank him and all of our very distinguished
witnesses for being here today.
I would note for the record we are not here to relitigate
the sad divorce of Chen Guangcheng and NYU. It is a
disheartening part of a larger issue, however, whether American
universities will compromise academic freedom again to get a
piece of the lucrative Chinese education market.
Today's hearing, then, will mark the beginning of a long
hard look of costs and benefits of the growing number of
Chinese educational partnerships started by U.S. universities
and colleges, including exchange programs and satellite
campuses in China and Confucius institutes in the United States
and around the world.
While foreign educational partnerships are important
endeavors--I was an exchange student, it was a great
experience, no one is questioning that--this is a whole
different focus. I think we can all agree that U.S. colleges
and universities should not be outsourcing academic control,
faculty and student oversight, or curriculum to a foreign
government, in this case, a dictatorship. Unfortunately, there
is now some evidence emerging giving rise to this hearing.
The American Association of University Professors or AAUP,
along with its sister organization in Canada, published a
report in July blasting the Confucius Institute model as a
partnership that ``sacrificed the integrity of the [host
university] and its academic staff'' by requiring
``unacceptable concessions'' that allow ``the Confucius
Institutes to advance a state agenda in the recruitment and
control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in
the restriction of debate.'' That is fully their quote.
The AAUP concluded by saying that--and I quote it again--
``Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state
and are allowed to ignore academic freedom'' and recommended
shutting down U.S. Confucius Institutes unless they could meet
certain standards of academic freedom and transparency.
The Confucius Institutes are China's soft power push, an
attempt to increase the number of young people studying and
ideally, from their point of view, coming to admire, and ours,
Chinese culture and language. This is not harmful in itself for
the Chinese culture and language, as distinct from its
political culture, is indeed admirable.
But while some U.S. university administrators say the
influence of Confucius Institutes is benign, University of
Chicago's professor Marshall Sahlins has called the Confucius
Institutes ``academic malware,'' inimical to the U.S. model of
What we should do is welcome U.S.-China educational
partnerships that promote cultural understanding and critical
language skills and protect academic freedom, that allow the
teaching of sensitive topics and not subject to any of same
rules that govern Chinese academic institutions where
professors are fired or jailed for exercising the universal
right to free speech.
Indeed, there is a U.S. national security interest in
having U.S. students learn Chinese, but such language skills
should be taught on our terms, without the baggage brought by
the Confucius Institute ties. And if those freedoms are
violated or compromised, we need to find some recourse, whether
through withholding Department of Education funds or State
Department exchange program funds from schools that willingly
compromise the principles of academic freedom and human rights
to gain, again, a small share of the Chinese educational
That is why I am announcing today that I will be asking the
General Accountability Office (GAO) to study and review the
agreements of both satellite campuses in China and of Confucius
Institutes in the United States. I would also like to know if
those agreements are public, whether they compromise academic
or other freedoms of faculty, students, and workers, and
whether Chinese teachers are allowed the freedom to worship as
they please and to teach about Tiananmen Square, including the
massacre, Tibet, or Taiwan.
I will also ask the GAO to study whether U.S. satellite
campuses in China operate differently from Chinese universities
and whether there is a two-tier system in place where Chinese
students and faculty have more restrictions placed on their
activities and research than U.S. students and faculties.
I will also ask whether the Communist Party committees
operate on campus, whether fundamental freedoms are protected
for both Chinese and U.S. students and faculty, again,
religious freedom, Internet freedom, freedom of speech,
association, and whether universities are required to enforce
China's draconian population control policies, particularly on
the young women who may be attending those facilities and those
These are important questions, and there are more. We need
to look at whether these issues can be handled by the
universities, their faculties and trustees themselves, or if
there is something the U.S. Congress and the President must do
to ensure that academic freedom is protected. U.S. universities
and colleges should reflect and protect the highest principles
of freedom and transparency. They should be islands--islands of
freedom where foreign students and faculty can enjoy the
fundamental freedoms denied them in their own country.
And, again, I want thank our witnesses. And before I
introduce to them, yield to my good friend and colleague Mark
Meadows for any opening comment.
Mr. Meadows. Well, I just thank the chairman for your
leadership on this particular issue.
Thank each one of you as witnesses. Certainly, we want to
hear from you. There are others that are monitoring this, but I
would close with this, human rights--the basic human rights
that all of us should enjoy are areas that have really been a
hallmark within a lot of our universities in terms of being the
beacon of making sure that those voices are heard. And yet here
we see, tragically, the reverse potentially being done.
And so as--you heard the passion in the chairman's voice. I
can tell you that, whether it is before a camera or whether it
is in the privacy of his office where there are just two of us,
that passion is consistent and is unyielding.
And so with that, I would yield back, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Smith. Thank you very much here, Mr. Meadows.
I would like to now introduce our very distinguished panel,
all who have impeccable records but, also, have been true game
changers when it comes to human rights.
And I would like to begin first with Dr. Perry Link, who is
professor emeritus of east Asian studies at Princeton and
Chancellorial chair for teaching across disciplines at the
University of California at Riverside. He has published widely
on modern Chinese language, literature, and popular thought and
is a member of the Princeton China Initiative, Human Rights
Watch/Asia, and other groups that support fundamental human
rights. He has authored numerous books, and he co-edited with
Andrew Nathan ``The Tiananmen Papers, The Chinese Leadership's
Decision to Use Force Against Their Own People.'' Since 1996,
he has been blacklisted and denied visas by the Chinese
We will then hear from Dr. Thomas Cushman, who is professor
in the social studies and professor of sociology the Wellesley
College. His academic work has focused on the comparative study
of Communist societies with a special emphasis on Communist
Party control of civil society and dissidence. He has taught
and written extensively on the use of propaganda by
authoritarian governments to shape public opinion in liberal
democratic societies. He has written and edited numerous books,
is a founder and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Human
Rights, and is a prominent activist in the global freedom
movement in supporting dissidents in contemporary authoritarian
We will then hear from Dr. Xia Yeliang, who is a visiting
professor at the Cato Institute's Center for Global Liberty and
Prosperity. Dr. Xia's work focuses on the institutional and
policy reforms China needs to become modern, a free society.
Prior to joining Cato, Dr. Xia was a professor in the
department of economics at Peking University where he taught
since 2000. He was dismissed by Peking University in October
2013 because of his outspoken criticism of China's Communist
Party and his advocacy of democracy and basic human rights. Dr.
Xia was among the original signers of Charter 08, a 2008
manifesto calling for basic freedoms, constitutional democracy,
and respect for human rights, and was a founder of the Cathay
Institute of Public Affairs, a market-liberal think-tank in
We will then hear from Dr. Sophie Richardson, who is no
stranger to this subcommittee, who is China director at Human
Rights Watch. Dr. Richardson is the author of numerous articles
on domestic Chinese political reform and democratization and
human rights in many Asian countries. She has testified before
the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress, this subcommittee
many times, as well as others, and has provided commentary to
many prominent news outlets. Dr. Richardson is the author of
``China, Cambodia, and the Five Principles of Peaceful
Coexistence,'' an in-depth examination of China's foreign
policy since 1954's Geneva Conference, including rare
interviews with policymakers.
Just an extraordinary panel. And, Dr. Perry Link, I would
like to yield to you such time as you may consume.
STATEMENT OF PERRY LINK, PH.D., CHANCELLORIAL CHAIR FOR
INNOVATIVE TEACHING, UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, RIVERSIDE
Mr. Link. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and Congressman Meadows,
for inviting me to this important hearing.
In academic exchange with China, our country has two very
different kinds of interlocutors on the other side. These are,
number one, the officials of the Communist Party of China and,
two, Chinese scholars themselves. And it is crucial to
distinguish these two different players. Most of the mistakes
of U.S. academic administrators come from a failure to
distinguish them. The two groups have different goals. The main
goal of the Chinese scholars, like scholars everywhere, is to
The main goals of the Communist Party are three: First, to
gain technological knowledge that will be useful in increasing
the power of the Chinese state. Second, to spread abroad a rosy
version of Chinese history that is incomplete and, in important
respects, false. And, third, to intimidate and to punish
scholars, both Chinese and Western, who do not cooperate.
It is crucially important to recognize the nonscholarly
goals of the Communist Party of China and, hence, to be careful
in scholarly exchange. But it would also be a serious mistake
to turn away from China's genuine scholars who have come under
increasingly severe pressure in recent months. The Chinese
Government has issued orders nationwide that scholars must
support the Communist Party and reject so-called universal
values. Chinese scholars who disobey are subject to harassment,
firings, and even imprisonment.
The political persecution of scholars in China today is
worse than it has been since the 1970s under Mao Zedong. This
persecution is part of a larger pattern of aggressive behavior
by the Chinese state on many fronts. One of the many costs of
the troubles in the Middle East is that it is distracting
attention from the serious trouble that is brewing today in
Inside China, for decades, the main tool by which the
Communist Party has controlled expression has been to use fear
to induce self-censorship. ``Don't say what we do not want to
hear or you will bear the consequences.'' Now, with China's new
wealth and rise on the world stage, the Chinese Communist Party
has sought to apply these same tools in other countries,
including ours. The effects are visible in business and
diplomacy, but here I will restrict my comments to academics.
Western scholars, like myself, are made to understand that
if they cross red lines in their public expression, if they
mention topics such as Tibetan or Uyghur autonomy, Taiwan
independence, the Falun Gong, the Tiananmen massacre, Chinese
imprisoning the Nobel Peace laureate Liu Xiaobo, the
spectacular wealth of the superelite families of Xi Jinping, Li
Peng, Wen Jiabao and others, then, they will have trouble.
Their access to field work, archives, and interviews might be
blocked and they can be blacklisted from entering the country
At any given time, there are only a dozen or two American
scholars on visa blacklists but the effect of the blacklists
extends much, much farther because virtually every scholar
knows about the blacklists and has an incentive to stay clear
of the red lines. This pressure affects the way American
scholars use language, and here there are major costs to the
American public. Because, for example, Beijing forbids mention
of Taiwan independence, scholars speak of ``the Taiwan
question'' or ``cross-strait issues.'' Similarly, the Tiananmen
massacre becomes only ``an incident.'' Graduate students are
counseled not to write dissertations about Chinese democracy
for fear that blacklisting might ruin their young careers.
Seasoned scholars are afraid to go on the PBS News Hour to
comment on politically sensitive topics.
In addition to fear as a way to induce self-censorship, in
recent times, the Chinese Government has used positive
inducements to similar effect. It has funded an archipelago of
Confucius Institutes to teach Chinese language and culture in
colleges and high schools around the world, including more than
70 in our country. American recipients of these funds know,
without having to be told, that they must not invite the Dalai
Lama, hold seminars on Liu Xiaobo, or cross other Communist
Party red lines. A wordless self-censorship reigns. And
students see only a blanched cameo of what China is today.
Now, I am trying to stay under 5 minutes, so I am going to
name my three policy recommendations in brief. But you can read
more about them in my written statements.
Mr. Smith. Again, if----
Mr. Link. Pardon?
Mr. Smith [continuing]. Any of you exceed the 5, we are
more than happy to receive it orally as well. So don't limit
yourself too much, okay.
Mr. Link. My first policy recommendation is that the U.S.
Government should fund Chinese language programs in the U.S.
Our chairman himself mentioned this a moment ago. Why should
we--and by ``we'' I mean school administrators across the
country--hand our young people over to an authoritarian
government because they supply the funds? We have enough funds
for that. Certainly, this should be a vital national interest.
My second recommendation is that American university
administrators, in their programs with China, should adopt a
policy of consciously staking out the broadest of fields. What
I mean by that is that, when a satellite campus is set up in
Shanghai or somewhere or a Confucius Institute here, the policy
ought to be to make it clear in a low-key but dignified way
that we will talk about Liu Xiaobo, we will talk about the
Tiananmen massacre, we will have seminars with the Dalai Lama,
if we can get him to come, not for the purpose of sticking our
fingers in the dragon's eye, but in order to stake out the
borderline. Because if you don't stake out the borderline,
natural self-censorship will kick in and the field with shrink,
shrink, shrink, shrink, shrink, until you are saying nothing
except that blanched cameo.
The third recommendation I have is that the U.S. Government
should withhold visas for Confucius Institute instructors at
high profile U.S. institutions until the practice of
withholding visas for American scholars on political grounds is
And I will stop there. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Smith. Thank you so very much, Dr. Link.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Link follows:]
Mr. Smith. We now go to Dr. Cushman.
STATEMENT OF THOMAS CUSHMAN, PH.D., DEFFENBAUGH DE HOYOS
CARLSON CHAIR IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES, WELLESLEY COLLEGE
Mr. Cushman. I would like to thank the committee, and Mr.
Chairman and Mr. Meadows, for inviting me to provide testimony
My comments are a very brief overview of a more detailed
written testimony submitted for the record.
We have already talked about Confucius Institutes,
satellite campuses. My concern has been with the more small-
scale partnerships being forged out between the United States
and Chinese institutions involving exchanges of students and
faculty in special events around common themes. We have much
less data on the nature and structure of these relationships,
but I feel like they are one of the more important emerging
structural relationships between U.S. and Chinese institutions.
Just last week, Chinese President Xi Jinping noted that the
Chinese foreign policy should be designed to ``increase China's
soft power, give a good Chinese narrative, and better
communicate China's message to the world.'' It should be
stressed at the outset that partnerships between U.S. and
Chinese academic institutions will be a major means for
promoting this Chinese foreign policy objective.
I would also like to raise the question, perhaps
rhetorically, of what does it mean for U.S. institutions to
enter into a literal partnership with the Chinese Communist
Party. On the U.S. side, institutions of higher education are a
main mechanism of the 100,000 strong initiative put forth by
the Obama administration in 2009.
China is a rich source of revenue from the estimated
274,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S. The vast majority
of whom paid full tuition and costs. Students from the PRC
contribute an estimated $27 billion per annum to the American
economy. Most of the attention to date in a scholarly way has
been focused on Confucius Institutes. As I said, my concern is
with the more general partnerships that we really have very
little data on, but that I am starting to collect.
Based on my own experiences and research, I would like to
raise some concerns about these new partnerships in answer to
the central question of the hearing, is academic freedom
threatened by Chinese influence in universities? And many of my
observations mirror those of Professor Link and, I am sure,
others on the panel and elsewhere.
Number one, formal exchanges and partnerships provide
platforms for official positions of the CCP to be aired on U.S.
campuses and at formal events in China. At many academic
events, whether in China or the U.S., one can expect the
presence of representatives of the CCP, who monitor events,
engage in surveillance of Chinese participants and, when
possible, use such events for official propaganda purposes.
Two--and this has been covered already--but institutions
and programs in the U.S. may decide not to cover certain topics
during official events because of concern for offending or
being rude to their Chinese counterparts or because of direct
pressure from the Chinese side.
Three, scholars of China may self-censor and avoid public
criticism of aspects of China for fear of losing access to
China. And this has been already gone over, so I won't mention
Fourth, the partnerships are asymmetrical. U.S. scholars
are subject to close scrutiny for their work and face potential
bans from China, whereas Chinese scholars are free from such
constraints and can, theoretically, discuss the problems of
American society with impunity. And given that the cultural
climate in American universities, you might actually add that
Chinese scholars who come and criticize the United States would
be welcomed, as opposed to U.S. scholars going to criticize
aspects of Chinese society.
Fifth, for many U.S. faculty members of Chinese origin,
exchanges between U.S. institutions--between their institutions
in the U.S. and their home country represent intercultural
opportunities that could not be dreamed of just a short time
ago. Chinese faculty members in the United States are building
important bridges between the U.S. and China that are
necessary, but some might be less hesitant to criticize China
in order to protect these new opportunities, to protect their
own access to China, and especially, from what I have been able
to determine, to protect family members who remain there.
Sixth, professors who are increasing subject to student
evaluations for promotion, tenure, and salary increases,
especially at the junior levels, may avoid discussing sensitive
topics about China in their classes out of fear of negative
evaluations by Chinese students who are understandably
defensive and patriotic about China.
Seven, professors who are publically critical of particular
practices in China, especially those of the CCP, run the risk
of being labeled as anti-China or anti-Chinese. This deliberate
propaganda tactic of equating criticism of the policies of the
CCP with criticisms of persons of Chinese or more general Asian
descent is especially effective in the current climate of
identity politics that predominates on American campuses.
The fundamental duty of all U.S. universities is the
protection of academic freedom as the inalienable moral
foundation of the modern university. In order to protect
infringements on academic freedom that might ensue from
partnerships with Chinese institutions, professors must take a
leading role in, first, fostering debates on controversial
issues that are avoided on campuses, especially in resistance
to people who might try to stop them.
Two, exposing deliberate CCP propaganda efforts associated
with events carried out in the U.S. under the aegis of
partnerships. This task can be enhanced by drawing on the
considerable experience and expertise of Chinese dissidents and
human rights activists and inviting them to campuses at every
available opportunity, again, with the coda that there might be
resistance to such things.
Third, providing Chinese students with the tools for
critical thinking that are the core of the liberal arts, while
at the same time understanding and respecting their views and
experiences as students who are educated in an environment
where independent and critical thinking are highly
Fourth, developing courses that deliberately examine
controversial topics that are avoided in China and which other
faculty in the U.S. environment might not teach in order to
avoid giving offense, again, with the coda that there might be
resistance to such things.
In my full written report to the subcommittee, I have made
several policy recommendations for your consideration, one of
which I will mention--that I think that one thing we don't know
and that, I think, that political authorities might be
concerned in finding out--is among institutions who receive
Federal funding for their programs in no matter what form,
there should be some kind of audit or kind of inventory of
exactly how many American universities have what kind of
partnerships with China, what is discussed at these
partnerships. This is an extremely important thing. We just
simply don't know how many there are.
And I also suggest that colleges themselves and
universities who receive Federal funds who somehow get money
from the Government for any of their programs should also
ensure that there are yearly audits of things that go on in
their own campuses which demonstrate to the rest of the world
and academia and even people like this committee that there is
legitimate academic freedom and efforts to protect academic
freedom on American campuses.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Smith. Mr. Cushman, thank you very much for your
excellent testimony and your leadership and you and the other
professors who bravely stood up for Dr. Xia, who is our next
[The prepared statement of Mr. Cushman follows:]
STATEMENT OF XIA YELIANG, PH.D., VISITING FELLOW, CENTER FOR
GLOBAL LIBERTY AND PROSPERITY, CATO INSTITUTE
Mr. Xia. Thank you, to the chairman and the committee.
I have the serious doubt on how the NYU Shanghai campus can
possibly avoid the ideological control and the moral education
for the students--just for U.S. higher institutions. Because in
China we have four--normally we have five courses. That is
compulsory courses for undergraduate students, including
Marxist theory, Mao Zedong thought. And those courses cannot be
So I wonder whether the American students--of course,
American students, they can choose take this course or not. But
the Chinese students, even they are registered by the American
universities, they still have the compulsory courses to
So that means that the Chinese students who get degrees
from the prestigious universities from U.S., they still have
the ideological control and moral education in China. That is
Nowadays, we find in several cases the Chinese authority
order to have installed many numerous video cameras for
classroom teaching all over in China. So that means that the
teachers will be monitored all the time when they give the
courses. So, in some cases, the teachers will be talked by
either party secretary and some political instructors, say,
what you talk about the democracy and the constitutions it is
not proper to talk in classroom and so on and so forth.
Nowadays, Chinese regime send a lot of their teachers and
set up a lot of their Confucius Institutes overseas. It is a
part of the strategy of the grand propaganda overseas.
According to the official report, annual report of the 2013,
they have established 440 Confucius Institutes and 646
Confucius classrooms in over 120 countries and regions.
We know the expenditure for each Confucius Institute is
about half of a million U.S. dollars and, then, that is $60,000
for each classroom. So if you just calculated those total
figures, you could see how much they spent on the export of the
soft power, actually is the kind of their export of the
ideology of Marxism, not socialism.
And as a recent case that American high school students,
whose name is called Henry DeGroot from Newton North High
School, when he got the opportunity to visit China and exchange
ideas with local students, and he choose his ideas on the
democracy and freedom. And then, eventually, he was asked to
apologize to those students. And the American schools and
administrators think he violated rules. That means, American
students, you cannot express your own values and ideas in
public overseas. That means that you cannot break the taboo.
But those kind of taboo, it is the Communist taboo. So that
means, the Western people, you have to give up your values and
principles while you are traveling overseas.
And in many cases, I think that the faculty members and
administrators in the most prestigious universities in the U.S.
nowadays, they have some consideration on whether to have the
collaboration with China or they persist on their own values.
I know that some universities, they need some more funding
and more students come from China. It is a great source for
funding. But, meanwhile, they are not challenging the Communist
values. They do not mention the three Ts, Tibet, Taiwan, and
Tiananmen, and Falun Gong, and so on and so forth.
And, in my own personal experience at Stanford, as a
business scholar, last year, we arranged a talk, speech, used
the classroom at Confucius Institute at Stanford. And then we
talked about constitutional issues. After that speech, my
scheduled speech on the Chinese economy and policies was
canceled. And people told me because the people from the
Confucius Institutes, they think that your ideas is too
aggressive and radical. It is not good. So they will not allow
you to give the moral speech in their classroom. But that
classroom is located on the campus of Stanford. Doesn't it mean
that the occupation of their territory or something in American
campuses. So you don't have academic freedom, even on campuses
of universities in U.S. So how can you export the liberal ideas
to the authoritarian countries if you cannot persist on your
And, also, nowadays, the Chinese regime that became very
confident after Xi Jinping became the President, they think
that they have the free confidence in institutions and theories
and, also, in goal. They think that the Communist China will do
better than the capitalist countries. So that they have tried
to take all alternatives to replace the old values, they think.
For instance, they will say China's model is better than
the Western model, American model. They tried to use the
Chinese dream to replace the American dream. They use Beijing
Consensus to replace the Washington Consensus and so on and so
forth. Every thing, every good thing you can find, they will
try to find to establish new alternatives. Like Google, they
use Baidu, for eBay, they use Alibaba, and for Amazon, they use
DangDang. Everything, they will find an equivalent or make
alternatives to replace. Like YouTube, they use Youku, and so
on and so forth.
So, in the future, that means with expansion, not only the
economic expansion, but also military expansion. So China tried
to be another superpower and compete with U.S. in many, many
things, not only in the economic market activities, but also on
values and principles of the human beings. There is a lot of
materials to provide with figures and the calculations.
In China, we have so many schools lacking of funding,
especially in rural areas. I mean, those poorer students that
cannot afford to pay a lot of stuffs for learning. And they
cannot get qualified teachers because of the lacking of
funding. But, now, China spends huge money to establish
And so what is the point of that? It is kind of the
ideological export. It is not international assistance in
finance or in some other poverty solutions. I mean, if they
really have that money, they should spend in China domestically
and in rural areas to lot up their shabby classroom and
schoolhouses to be reconstructed or renovated.
So about the NYU campus in Shanghai. They admit that, on
this campus, it is hard for you to use Google and others, like
YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. So it is advisable that people
should have their own solution, whether use VPN to be paid or
they use some other software when they come to China. If they
want to get access to all the Internet for academic research,
they have to suffer all those inconveniences in China.
So is that the cost and compromise that the universities
has to pay? And I have raised that question many times. I said,
if there are some dictators were trained, they have their own
education in U.S. institutions, can you call that American
university as a success for ones to train people in good
Like Kim Jong-Un, when he back to North Korea, he became
another dictator. So when Bo Guagua, the son of the Bo Xilai,
he had all the highest level of education in Britain and U.S.
So when he returned, after nothing happened to his dad, it is
very possibly for him to become another national leader. So
that means more and more dictators will be trained, even in the
U.S. universities. So that is a great challenge to our values
I don't know whether there is still time. It didn't show
here. So I guess, because of the language barrier, I can only
say a few.
Mr. Smith. Well, Dr. Xia, thank you very much. And I am
glad your written testimony is excellent and will inform and
help us big time going forward on what to do and what our
response should be.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Xia follows:]
Mr. Smith. Dr. Richardson.
STATEMENT OF SOPHIE RICHARDSON, PH.D., CHINA DIRECTOR, HUMAN
Ms. Richardson. Chairman Smith, Congressman Meadows, it is
great to see you. Thanks for inviting me to join you.
We have only just begun research in earnest on this topic
in the last couple of months. And we consider academic freedom
to be a critical form of the freedom of expression. And at a
time when exchanges between China and the U.S. and others are
increasing, possibly, at an all-time high--and that is a trend
that generally we encourage because we think there are enormous
benefits in both directions. So we don't do this research
because we want to shut these exchanges down. Quite the
reverse. We want to make sure that they are taking place within
a context of and ensuring the highest standards of academic
So I think what I can do best this afternoon is just give
you some of our preliminary observations based on the roughly 2
dozen interviews that we have done so far. There are two things
that every single academic we have talked to has said to us.
One is that they are all deeply concerned about this problem.
The other is--and I am not making it up. Literally every
single person, at some point in the conversation has said to
us, ``follow the money.'' And by that, they have meant
everything from who is funding which programs, what quid pro
quos exist, what opportunities may be on offer in the future. I
have never heard this phrase used so frequently. After somebody
said it in the fourth or fifth interview, I thought there is
definitely a trend here that we all need to be following.
I think, while the degree of concern about lowering
academic expression standards is fairly consistent, I think the
individual perceptions of vulnerability, either at an
institutional or an individual level, thus far, seems to vary
enormously depending on the prominence, the wealth, and the
depth of China programs for the institutions or the individual
academic in question.
Almost everyone worries specifically about access to China,
but the people who continue to be particularly vulnerable,
perhaps present--some present company excluded, are young,
untenured faculty members who must be able to do field work in
order to be able to complete book projects to bid for tenure. I
think this is arguably one of the biggest problems to wrestle
And, certainly, Americans teaching both in China and
outside China have told us quite explicitly that they have
chosen to avoid topics such as Tibet or Tiananmen in their
classrooms, even when they haven't specifically been asked to
do so. Several have also suggested to us, people who have been
working on or in China for years, that they feel the pressures
have gotten more acute in the last year. That is a little bit
harder to nail down specifically.
But the kinds of abuses at the moment that, I think,
concern us the most--and stay tuned since we may learn
different things over the coming months--is certainly the idea
that a far lower standard of academic freedom could become the
norm or could become accepted--hi, Mr. Wolf--even when it is
clearly stipulated by international law and certainly by
practice outside of China. And I particularly want to echo
Professor Link's point that there are real consequences for
knowledge and not just knowledge of a kind that is important to
the academic community, but that is essential, I think, for
policy purposes, for economic purposes, for strategic purposes.
The most pervasive kind of problem we have documented so
far certainly is about censorship, which seems to come in two
different forms. There is self-imposed, which, again, is
largely about maintaining access. But there is also imposed
censorship, people specifically being told or departments
deciding not to focus on certain topics. Again, it is early
days to give a definitive view about this, but some of the
sensitivity seems to be worse on issues that have an economic
or a security dimension to them.
Arguably most alarming to us is the phenomenon of threats
to or harassment of students, faculty members, institutions as
a whole. We were very alarmed, in an interview just a few weeks
ago, when a very senior, very well regarded scholar who is of
ethnic Chinese descent said I absolutely change what I say in
public because I am worried about the consequences for my
family inside China. You know, that is not the world we should
be living in.
It is early days to give you recommendations. We usually
wait until we are a little further down the track. But I can
see offering up to institutions, in particular, a sort of
academic freedom safeguards checklist, a bit akin to what
businesses or international financial institutions use to
assess risk when they are entering into new countries, new
partnerships, or new kinds of ventures.
I think it might also be helpful for universities to have
to share amongst themselves almost a code of conduct or an
action plan where they have agreed, in advance, how they will
push back against certain kinds of threats to academic freedom.
Many of these different universities are describing to us the
same kinds of problems. And I think if there was a little bit
more of sharing of those experiences and a commitment to a
particular kind of reaction, that protected a higher standard
of academic freedom, we might see a lessening of certain kinds
of pressure. I think there is probably a long conversation to
be had about U.S. Government funded academic exchanges and
making sure that rights are protected therein. Perhaps we can
save that for the next hearing. Thanks.
Mr. Smith. Dr. Richardson, thank you so very much.
[Ms. Richardson did not submit a prepared statement.]
Mr. Smith. And we are joined by Chairman Frank Wolf. Thank
Just to begin the questioning, and then I will yield to my
two distinguished colleagues. Let me just ask you all, you
know, New York University was the first with a satellite campus
partnership in Shanghai in 2013, Duke, Kean in New Jersey,
University of Pittsburgh, Johns Hopkins, Fort Hays in Kansas,
Carnegie Mellon, Missouri State University, and University of
Michigan have all opened in the last year these satellite,
money-rich efforts. And then there are 97 Confucius Institutes
in the U.S., 429, as far as we can tell, worldwide operating in
universities, in 115 countries. This is an all-out effort by
the Chinese Government.
And let me just ask you, if I could, you know, maybe to
briefly focus on Hanban and their role in all of this. We
understand that some 10,000 teachers are taught every year,
recruited and then taught and then deployed. For example, is
NYU branding authoritarianism and dictatorship?
We asked the Congressional Research Service to look into
this and last year--again, I have asked NYU to be here. I said
15. It was 16 separate dates that we gave them, beginning on
February 4th of last year and gave them--we said, ``We are
available. We want to hear. We want real answers to genuine
questions.'' And they gave us no response or ``can't testify,''
``scheduling conflicts,'' ``overcommitted,'' and we will
continue to try to get them to come here.
But I am especially concerned when the Congressional
Research Service finds that for Chinese students--this is at
their Shanghai campus--two-thirds of the $45,000 tuition cost
is paid for by the Shanghai City Government. That is a huge
subsidization, not just of the building that is being handed
over, but also to the actual student tuition.
It raises questions. Who, then, gets to be the students?
Who controls the admission policies? Maybe you can speak to
that. I doubt if it is the son or daughter of a dissident or
of, like, Falun Gong practitioner or a Protestant underground
church leader or a Catholic Church member who is not a member
of the Patriotic Church. It raises serious questions about
how--the filtering of who, then, comes in.
You, Dr. Xia, gave excellent testimony about the Marxist
mandatory political education, five compulsory courses, Mao
Zedong, Marxism, elementary principles. Maybe you could expand
on that very briefly.
A good news story is that a number of universities like
Chicago and Pennsylvania State have cut ties with the Confucius
Institutes. So there are some push backs. I would respectfully
say it is happening because of your work. Like, you, Dr.
Cushman, the faculty are speaking up and it is becoming a game
changer out there. Is that a trend or are these just isolated
incidents that are happening? And I have a lot of other
questions, but I will just conclude with the other ones and
yield to my colleagues.
Last year, the Chinese Communist Party issued the seven
noes policy to universities and professors, including no
discussion of democracy, freedom of the press, civil society,
human rights, the Communist Party's mistakes in the past, the
rich and the powerful class, an independent judiciary. How does
this apply to the satellites? Do they have to follow that?
And I could just add my own. On the Internet, you
mentioned, Dr. Xia, some of the problems there. You know, are
they getting the same censorship? In 2006, I held the beginning
of a series of hearings on Google. We had Google, Microsoft,
Yahoo, and Cisco testify. They were sworn in, and they
basically told us they were just following Chinese law in the
censorship. Now that has been handed over to Chinese companies
who, I believe, are probably even more egregious in their
censorship. What happens on these campuses? The Shanghai campus
Then the last question would be on the enforcement of the
egregious, horrific anti-woman policy called the one-child-per-
couple policy and forced abortion. No unwed mother in China can
have a baby that can't get a birth-allowed certificate. It just
can't happen. Now, many women who attend college are still
single. How does the college, how does NYU's Shanghai campus,
or any of these others implement that?
If you could.
Mr. Link. I would like to note the presence of
Representative Wolf and thank him for coming. He, too, has been
stalwart over the years in this cause and that is wonderful.
There are a number of questions here. I will just tic off a few
answers and turn to our fellow panelists.
On the satellite campuses in China, fundamentally, the
self-censorship problem, I think, is the same as the pressures
that come to this side of the ocean. And, in my view, those
self-censorship problems are still the most far-reaching
because they are invisible. You can't see that someone has
self-censored. It just happens that the Dalai Lama isn't
mentioned and the Tiananmen massacre isn't mentioned and so on.
On the question of the Hanban and the teachers, the Hanban
is presented as part of the Ministry of Education. That is
false. It is from the State Council. It is from the Communist
Party. It is a political program. For those of you who don't
know Chinese, Hanban is the name of the office that sponsors
the Confucius Institutes and much of this whole global-reach,
The point I would like to make about the teachers in the
Hanban is that they are trained to represent the Communist
Party when they come abroad and do, so that even in informal
contexts when they come to Texas or California or wherever it
is, they are--they feel they need to be ``patriotic,'' which
means pro Communist Party.
But in their defense, they don't necessarily themselves
feel that way. If they are sent abroad and paid by the Hanban
in order to be missionaries for the Communist Party of China
and don't do it correctly, they can be punished when they go
back to China. So it doesn't follow from the fact that every
Hanban teacher that comes over is censoring and self-censoring
that that is really what is inside them. I think this point we
always have to bear in mind--real Chinese people, they are like
Dr. Xia--they are real Chinese people, and they have values
that aren't that different from our values. Those universal
values, I am sorry, is not a myth. It is a true thing.
On the question of the student subsidies that you raised--
the access, who gets to go to Shanghai satellite campuses or
other campuses--you are quite right to suspect--this is very
complex if you go into the statistics of it--but right to
suspect that the privileged ones get the best access.
I loved Dr. Xia's point a moment ago when he pointed out
how much money the Hanban spends all around the world and
neglects the poor children in the rural areas in their own
country. This morning, my friend Renee Xia, who is here today--
and I talked with Chen Guangcheng, the lawyer, we went to visit
him--and that was his point. He knew I was coming to this
hearing, and he said, ``You have to make it clear that ordinary
people in China suffer, and they are not part of this. This is
part of a Communist Party elite who is running this program.''
And we mustn't forget that.
I, of course, can't go to China, so I haven't been to the
NYU campus. But I will comment that I have a friend who is
there--I won't name him because I don't want to do it without
his permission--an American scholar. And it answers your
question, Mr. Chairman, about whether those rules about ``you
must be Marxist and the seven noes and so on'' apply to
American teachers who are there. It doesn't to him. He writes
me emails about how much friction he goes through trying to
defend liberal expression in a context where it goes against
the grain to do that.
So I think it is a messy answer to the question there. It
is contentious and, of course, should be contentious, so I
salute my friend there.
Mr. Cushman. I can't speak to the role of Hanban, in
particular, on those kinds of issues.
I would say that, as many people might know from my written
testimony and also from the news, I was part of an effort at
Wellesley College to speak on behalf of and to help protect
Professor Xia after he was fired. And we drafted a letter--it
was me and six other faculty members--that was signed by over
140 faculty members, which I would like to take the occasion
publicly in this chamber to thank them for doing that, because
they didn't have to do that. And it was a very important thing
to have done. And it did get attention from other people at
other universities, who wrote and said that we would like to do
similar kinds of things.
So what I think is that all efforts to combat what I would
consider to be the most troubling aspect, when American
universities or colleges start looking like Chinese
universities and colleges in terms of what you can speak about,
it is an effort of resistance and that professors from places
that have satellite campuses, professors that have partnerships
of the kind that I was talking about that were forged by MUOs
that we don't really know much about, there has to be some
collective action at that level in terms of pushing back on
their own administrations.
And the problem is with many of these smaller-scale
partnerships, which I think are obviously more ubiquitous than
the satellite campuses, is that they are very often, in almost
all cases, forged by the administrations of the universities or
colleges and then just announced to the faculty. And so the
issues of faculty governance and whether faculty actually
control these are coming up, and that seems to me to be
something really important to try to effect.
But I would stress, given that people are following the
money, given that there is a very distinct political economy of
knowledge going on here that is all driven by politics and
money, especially at public institutions, which need more money
for programs that have been cut, these kind of efforts, these
resistant efforts, whether it be teaching new kinds of courses
or bringing in dissidents, you are going against the tide, as
Mr. Smith. I don't know what your time is, and I do hope
you can save it. We will have to take about a 15-minute recess.
There are three votes on the floor. The one vote is almost out
of time, then we have a 5-minute and then another 5-minute.
So we will reconvene, and I hope you can stay. But I do
thank you for your patience.
Mr. Smith. The subcommittee will resume its sitting. And,
again, I apologize for the delay. Dr. Xia, I think you were
next up, and look forward to your answers.
Mr. Xia. I would like to mention a few cases in China
Some of the university professors when they talked about
constitutions and rule of law and freedom, human rights, and
then they were removed from their teaching positions, like
Zhang Xuezhong in Shanghai and Chen Hongguo in Xi'an. They are
both law professors, and they have been removed. And,
eventually, Chen Hongguo quit his job. He knows there is no way
to continue his teaching.
And also, nowadays, Liu Yunshan, one of the seven top
leaders who is in charge of the ideological control and
propaganda, and he gave the instructions that the ``Chinese
dream'' should be infused into the teaching and classroom and
the brains and minds of students. So it is a demand. It is
compulsory. No one will be an exception.
So, in China, all the arts and literature and all those
show business was under control of the propaganda department of
CCP, so, like, movies, dramas, opera, music, and cartoons even.
I know that some of the cartoon painters has been arrested only
because they made some cartoons to criticize the Communist
So, I mean, the situation is getting much worse than ever
before just after the 2 years that Xi Jinping became the
And also I found there is, in some of the best universities
in U.S., there is a kind of phenomenon. I don't have very
direct evidence, but I can sense it. I mean, some professors
and administrators, they visit China and they get special
treatments like an honored guest, some privilege. Then, in
return, they might accept the corrupt officials' children to be
the graduate students in those best universities.
Of course, those students have met the criteria, but still
there is some room to do something extra. I mean, maybe among
10 excellent students, they will pick up someone that has a
direct relationship with the corrupt officials. They know that
is much more beneficial than acceptance of the ordinary people.
So this kind of case, I would say, in the way that the
American administrators and the professors, they are halfways
the dictatorship, in some way, because they make a lot of their
compromise when dealing with those Chinese authorities, either
in universities and other institutions. That is my impression.
And especially for those east Asian studies departments and
institutes, they might be lacking of their funding support, and
they need to have more visits and cooperative research with
Chinese regime, so they might have that kind of a compromise.
One case is, you know, the RAND Corporation, some senior
researchers, they had a very close relationship with the
administrator in Central Party School, the vice president. And
he visit China for 20 times, and each time was arranged by this
guy. Anyplace he visited, it would be arranged beforehand. So
he got the impression that the Chinese regime became very
successful both in economic performance and in the whole life.
So I think that that senior researcher got it wrong, because he
just believe in that kind of thing through this official
So that is my suspects on the effectiveness of a
cooperation and academic research between U.S. and China. Thank
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Dr. Xia.
Ms. Richardson. I will just add a couple of very quick
To the issue of which rules will really prevail on
satellite campuses, I think most Western universities will
say--and in other instances, for example, in the Middle East or
with respect to Yale's campus in Singapore, for example,
university officials have said, the same rules will prevail as
prevail on home campuses. And I think in principle that is
lovely to imagine will be the case. I think much depends on how
that actually gets tested and how the universities behave when,
for example, you know, somebody on a Western university's
campus inside China wants to have a symposium about Tibet or
Xinjiang or one of the issues we can reasonably expect will be
And, you know, one assumes that that is some of
universities' worst nightmares, but they can't possibly imagine
that is not going to happen, right? And whether they are
actually really prepared to deal with that in a breach is not
clear to us yet.
On the issue of positive consequences that this debate has
generated, I actually think that, especially the discussion
about Confucius Institutes and their presence in universities
and secondary schools in the U.S. actually has the potential to
be a very helpful catalyst about a broader discussion about
human rights abuses in China and Chinese Government standards,
I think in the same way that, for example, you know, tainted
products coming from China mobilizes public opinion here in a
way that discussions, for better or for worse, about individual
cases, for example, or problematic Chinese Government policies
You know, I do think that if one of the net results of
these debates is that there is more money, particularly for
language programs and for research in a variety of fields, that
is a positive outcome, as is the presence of lots of academics
and students from China in the U.S. I think that is a very
Mr. Smith. Thank you.
You know, I have been in Congress 34 years, and I remember
in my second term a terrible human rights abuse became known
through the work of a guy named Steven Mosher, and that is the
one-child, forced-abortion policy. And he was taken very
credibly, as he should have been. ``60 Minutes'' and
``Frontline'' did a tremendous expose largely built on his
work. The Washington Post carried a three-part incisive article
by Michael Weisskopf, who was the Beijing bureau chief, and I
know Mosher, was one of his sources. He had many, but he was
one. And yet Stanford denied him his attempt to become a
And the Wall Street Journal, if I remember correctly, did a
piece called ``Stanford Morality'' and called on Stanford to
revisit their concern about access to China when a human rights
abuse has been reported.
So it is a longstanding problem--the reason for mentioning
this--but it seems it has gotten exponentially worse in the
last 10 years, with the Confucius Institutes and now with more
and more of our universities setting up satellite campuses in
Is it all about money? I mean, it is hard to understand.
You know, we all want to get closer to the Chinese people, but
when this is all about a dictatorship that is adversarial in
the extreme toward its own people, woe to us if we are enabling
that dictatorship through this means.
I thought your statement, Dr. Cushman, about how the last
to know are the professors, that the administrators are the
ones who bring this about--and I know many college presidents,
they are always in the hunt for money. It is a very, very
difficult job that they have, and they do need to find sources,
but not all sources are licit or ethical.
So maybe you could speak to that a bit. And maybe drill
down a little bit more about what Hanban is. You know, for most
people, that is a word they have never heard before.
One of the things we do in this subcommittee is that it is
all about follow-up and action plans that come out of our
hearings. As I mentioned, we are already looking at a GAO study
so your recommendations on what we ought to ask the GAO to look
for, if you could get it officially for the record or just get
it to us, we would deeply appreciate that so we get it right on
what we are asking. You are the experts.
And, Dr. Xia, if you could just tell us a little bit what
it was like going through your travail. Again, thank you, Dr.
Cushman, for rallying to his defense so effectively, and your
fellow professors. But what was that like?
And then maybe get to those other issues, as well, if you
Mr. Xia. While I was teaching in Peking University, for
more than 13 years, only in recent 2 years, 3 years, I found
some students, they actually reported what I have said in the
classroom to the authorities. They think there are some
offensive words that go against the party and the socialism. So
the authority would think that that would not be accepted since
you are teaching university.
All universities in China are all state-owned. It is not
private. Even the private universities, actually, they don't
have the qualified teachers or sufficient resources to provide
qualified education. So in Peking University and Tsinghua and
all those universities, you have to obey the CCP's rules.
So people, nowadays, call all the universities in China as
the party schools. They are all party schools. So they should
be obey the doctrines. Actually, there is no academic freedom.
If you say capitalism is might be a good institution, at least
in the sense of the research, and people say, no, politically
you are not right, so you cannot do that research.
So I know the funding for all humanities and social
sciences in China, it all comes from one organization. This
organization called the National Planning Committee for
Humanities and Social Sciences. It is under the direct
leadership of the propaganda department of the CCP. Actually,
the office is located in the department of propaganda of the
CCP. So that means they are ideologically controlled by CCP.
There is no freedom at all to have the academic research.
And so when they have the cooperation with Western
scholars, there are also some requirements that says any
research that violates the socialist rules and cannot be
accepted and cannot be published in China. So they have some
warnings to American professors, better not to touch this kind
of issue, like Tibet and so on and so forth. Otherwise, this
kind of research cannot get funding.
That is the basic situation.
Mr. Smith. Thank you.
Mr. Xia. Thank you.
Mr. Smith. If nobody else wants to respond, just a couple
of other final questions and anything else you would like to
say as we conclude.
At that 2006 hearing that I had with Google, Microsoft,
Cisco, and Yahoo, we actually put up on a large board the
Google search engine for China. And we typed in a whole lot of
things, from ``Tibet'' to the ``Dalai Lama,'' especially
``Tiananmen Square.'' We got beautiful pictures of Tiananmen
Square and happy people, but no tanks, no soldiers, no bleeding
students. And then when you did Google, the search engine that
was available here in the United States, it was millions of
hits of what truly happened during those momentous times when
so many people sacrificed for democracy and freedom.
What happens on the campuses, like on Tiananmen? What would
NYU-Shanghai or any of these in China, these satellites, if
somebody says, what happened in Tiananmen Square, what does a
professor do? If he is videotaped, is he self-censoring so he
is not pulled off and taken by the secret police? I mean, what
happens on a day-to-day basis? Because students will always
have inquiring minds. At least I hope they will.
Mr. Link. Students, yes, have inquiring minds. And people
in China who want to jump over the great firewall and get
access can usually do that by using VPNs. It takes work, and
you have to play cat-and-mouse with the censors. The problem is
that most people are either afraid to do that or don't have the
time to do that or just don't think of doing that, so we have,
as you correctly point out, this huge inequality of what is
available inside China and what is available outside.
I would like to expand a little bit, based on a
conversation we had during the break, about this access
inequality problem. Chinese students and scholars, including
representatives of the Communist Party of China, come to our
free society and look at our Googles and our libraries and our
free expression and have full access to that, whereas Americans
who go to China, along with all the Chinese people, have to
jump over these firewalls and figure out how to get what they
ought to have had without that struggle.
I want to put this in the context of the problem of
censoring books. It has become a controversy in my field of
China studies recently whether you should accept censorship of
your book about China in order to get it translated and
published inside China. Some people say, yes, I will accept the
censorship because the larger good is that the rest of the book
itself gets through to Chinese readers. And some people say,
no, censorship is wrong, and even if it means my book won't get
over to the Chinese readers, I am, on principle, not going to
I respect people on both sides of that divide. It is a
tough dilemma. But the point is that, at bottom, that is also
an access problem. If you think about it, what the Chinese
Communist Party is saying to the American scholars is, yes, you
can have access to our people to read your book, but the price
you pay is that you have to censor what we don't like. So it is
fundamentally an access problem.
And I just wonder--I am not a politician--but I wonder if
our Government couldn't do something to say that access has to
be fair on both sides. If you can have full access to our
society, our scholars, our Voice of America, our Radio Free
Asia, and so on, we have to have full access to yours. They
won't like that, of course, but that is in principle a good
argument to have to make.
The final comment I would like to make is about our
chairman's observation that in his 34 years of service things
have gotten demonstrably worse. I think that is a direct quote,
but something like that. You are right; it is demonstrably
worse. And in the last 2 years, it is seriously demonstrably
I worry that our society has what I would call a ``warning
fatigue'' about China, because people like Sophie Richardson
and Chairman Smith and me and so on have been harping on human
rights for 2 decades, and the society might nod their heads,
``Yeah, yeah, it is them again, they are doing their thing
again,'' and we are doing our thing again. But somehow we have
to get the point across that in these last 2 years it is
worse--seriously worse, threateningly worse.
And I will stop there. Thanks.
Mr. Cushman. I would just reiterate the asymmetry problem,
the problem in the soft power strategy of China has an open
society to work in and we have a closed society to work in.
And, you know, the more general problem of open societies is
that they have to allow criticisms of themselves, whereas
closed societies don't have to allow any of that and they
I did want to say something about the issue of revenue and
money, because you are absolutely right. Any college president
or provost or someone in charge has to worry about money and
sources of money. But my argument has only ever been that, yes,
that would be your job. If I were a college president, I would
want to maximize the return to my university or my college. But
you have to do both. You have to also protect the free space
from infringements, subtle and not so subtle.
The subtle ones are more a concern to me, these small acts
of self-censorship that continually add up into something much
greater. And I am concerned, in terms of ``demonstrably
worse,'' what I am concerned about is if our institutions in
the United States become more similar to their counterparts in
China with regard to what we can talk about not just in China
but about a whole range of issues.
I would point out that a colleague of mine, who has
actually testified in a hearing before on other issues,
particularly related to Tiananmen, who has just published a
book on Tiananmen, has had to suffer extreme abuse mostly from,
kind of, cyber bullying attacks from all over the place about
her views and, you know, personal abuse and ad hominem attacks
by orchestrated, kind of, campaigns to criticize her for
writing an honest and truthful book about Tiananmen, in which
her whole life has been involved in doing.
And this is to be expected in these kinds of cyber attacks
that have no origin and you don't know where they are coming
from, and they appear to be Chinese people that are attacking
her for being anti-China or agents of America or whatever. But
lately what has concerned me is when people present critical or
provocative perspectives on China and are actually attacked by
their colleagues, who are not necessarily of Chinese origin or
have Chinese interests, for being too negative about China or
not stressing the positive aspects of China.
And when American or, in this case--this talk that I am
referring to took place in Europe--when a European professor,
you know, really launches an assault on a professor who is
telling the truth about China, that starts to worry me. That is
only one case, obviously, but I believe that what I am worried
about is that that might get worse, that people like us,
dissidents or people like Professor Link who speak out, or Dr.
Richardson, will be objects of attack for stressing the
negative aspects of China and in some ways kind of raining on
the parade, as it were, raining on the soft power parade, if I
might be indulged with that one.
Ms. Richardson. I think the only point I will add to this
at the moment--it seems appropriate when we are talking about
academic freedom in China. For anybody who is harboring any
illusions about how much space there is on Chinese campuses, I
think we would do well to remember not only Ilham Tohti, who
has been given a life sentence for essentially trying to have a
vigorous, critical conversation in his classrooms about inter-
ethnic dialogue, but whose students are being prosecuted, as
well. And it is not clear what the outcome for them will be.
But I think that is a pretty sobering reminder of what you
can and can't say in a classroom in the mainland.
Mr. Smith. Dr. Richardson, has the Obama administration
shown an interest in pushing back?
You and I have talked many times. I mean, we had a hearing,
I will say to our other distinguished colleagues, friends,
witnesses, where we had five daughters, all of whose dads were
being held, including the daughter of Gao Zhisheng. And when we
tried to get a meeting with President Obama with the five
daughters, we were told he didn't have the time. He might not
agree with the strategy on how do you promote human rights, but
not to meet with five daughters that want to say, ``Please
intervene on behalf of our dads who are being tortured.''
I raise this because there has been a tone-deafness on so
many of these issues, and I wondering if we are running into
the same thing here, that somehow some good will come out of
this, when I think it is a gross enabling of bad behaviors and
dictatorship. And as I think several of you have said--you have
said it, Dr. Link--you know, Xi Jinping in the last 2 years is
truly projecting power.
I have had hearings here--because I host part of this
subcommittee, the first name of it is ``Africa, Global Health,
Global Human Rights''--on the undue influence, the pernicious
influence that China is having on African governments--the bad
governance model. And they are very close, obviously, to people
like Bashir and Mugabe and others. And yet they are starting
these institutes in Africa, as well.
Are they concerned about it?
Ms. Richardson. What is the best way to answer this
question? The President----
Mr. Smith. As always, truthfully. As you do. As you do.
Ms. Richardson. I am just trying to find out how blunt to
The President did speak publicly at a somewhat abstract
level. There were some specifics about Hong Kong, for example,
when he was in Beijing. It is our understanding that a more
specific discussion was had behind closed doors.
I think the administration is to be commended for the real
surround-sound response when Professor Tohti's sentence was
announced. There was a White House statement, there was a State
Department statement, the President spoke, Secretary Kerry
But we were very disappointed that not only did the
President not follow through on the recommendation that we and
eight other organizations made to call publicly for the release
of five specific people, including Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia, but
also the President gave an interview to Xinhua, and there is
some language in that interview, particularly about ETIM and
about terrorism issues, that we find extremely problematic.
Because the way it is formulated, I think, very much plays into
a Chinese Government narrative about terrorism and about
And, you know, I don't mean to suggest that there aren't
people committing unconscionable acts of violence in Xinjiang.
That is clearly happening. I think it is absolutely incumbent
on the administration to make a very clear difference between
what it knows about specific groups of people who are
committing or who are contemplating committing acts of
terrorism and the population as a whole.
You know, the latter part of the equation about the
relationship between human rights denials and violence or
terrorism did get made but, again, in a very abstracted fashion
that in no way called the Chinese Government onto the carpet
for its abuses in Xinjiang. And I think that is extremely
problematic, especially given the priority that the Chinese
Government is now placing on terrorism and counterterrorism
cooperation with other governments.
So that is a long answer. But, you know, the administration
has occasionally been vocal at senior-most levels on specific
cases. It has been much less frequent----
Mr. Smith. Have they shown a concern about the Confucius
Institutes and the satellites as to what this really is all
Ms. Richardson. You know, I am going to come back to you on
that because I haven't looked nearly as clearly as I should
have on U.S. Government responses to these issues. I certainly
know it is of concern to people.
And I do want to note that there are many people at the
working level in the State Department who are pretty ferocious
defenders of human rights----
Mr. Smith. Right.
Ms. Richardson [continuing]. And who----
Mr. Smith. Well, you know, Dr. Perry made an excellent
recommendation about the visas, withholding visas.
In the year 2000, I got a bill passed, the Admiral James W.
Nance and Meg Donovan Foreign Relations Authorization Act. One
of those provisions has a visa ban for anybody who is complicit
in coercive population control and these abuses against women.
Less than 30 people have been singled out, and there has been
no effort. We get no good answers as to why.
I am all for visas and, matter of fact, correspondingly, or
similarly, I wrote the law called the Belarus Democracy Act.
Because it is a lot easier for us to criticize Belarus,
Lukashenka, there are 200 people on that list, or more, and
less than 30 that have been so sanctioned in China.
I think your idea is excellent, Dr. Link, so we will pursue
All your ideas are great, and we will, you know, merge them
in and merge/purge and go forward with them. So thank you.
Anybody else want to add anything before we close?
You have been great with your time, even greater with your
expertise and insights and your leadership.
You know, in Proverbs 22:1, it says, ``A good name is more
desirable than great riches.'' I would hope that our
universities and colleges who enjoy tremendous names and earned
prestige would look at what they are doing in terms of enabling
dictatorship, look at the terms and conditions as never before,
and, like the University of Chicago and perhaps some others,
will sever a relationship that not only enables bad behaviors
but also preserves their brand and their good name.
And we will reinvite, as we have done 16 times, NYU to be
at this witness table. And this is the first of what will be
about a half-dozen hearings going into next year. So you have
kicked off I think a very important set of scrutiny and focus
probe. Thank you so very, very much.
Mr. Xia. Can I just say 1 minute?
Mr. Smith. Dr. Xia?
Mr. Xia. I notice one phenomenon is that every year
hundreds of English books, including some textbooks, have been
translated into Chinese and published in China. But, among
them, majority of the books has been deleted a lot. For any
contents the authority might not like, there are deletes.
So this kind of thing is a violation of the academic
freedom. And also it is kind of cheating and frauding, because
the Chinese readers, they don't know which part has been
Giving one example, it is a very famous book. It is called
``The History of Modern China.'' It is written by Xuejun Yeu, a
scholar, American professor, basically come from China, but he
lived in U.S. for many years, and now he died. This book has
been deleted one-third of the parts of the contents. And the
whole version published in Hong Kong, but in China the version
is only two-thirds left. So something like that.
I mean, I would like to have the U.S. institutions of
higher education to have this in mind. Any publications that
will be translated in China, they must pay much more attention
on that, whether it is important the contents would be deleted
Mr. Smith. Thank you, Dr. Xia.
The hearing is now adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 3:09 p.m., the subcommittee was adjourned.]
A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Record
Material submitted for the record by the Honorable Christopher H.
Smith, a Representative in Congress from the State of New Jersey, and
chairman, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights,
and International Organizations