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Happy history in China, the land of the politically repressed

8 4 7

Talk about negative nation branding! Chinese authorities have really outdone themselves in drawing attention to their fear of history.

I refer to the recent international furor over Cambridge University Press (CUP) bowing to Beijing’s pressure to remove 315 articles from the archive of the China Quarterly available in China. After that became public knowledge, attracting scorn and brickbats, CUP did a volte-face and restored Chinese users’ access in a desperate bid to salvage its blemished reputation. This decision drew considerable favorable online commentary in China that the authorities deleted from the internet within 12 hours of CUP’s Weibo post announcing the decision.

So in this comedy of blunders, the censors censored Chinese views approving CUP’s belated rejection of their censorship. In doing so, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) showed it fears public mockery. Denying access to academic articles about the unpleasant past is a matter of state policy because this damning information is a potent weapon, empowering the people and exposing the orgy of nightmares the party has inflicted on them.

The CUP comes out looking feeble for secretly caving in to the pressure earlier this year and getting caught out by a leaked email that exposed their pussyfooting betrayal of academic freedom. The editors of the China Quarterly were not consulted as CUP’s bean counters skulked in the shadows, not wanting to endanger access to the Chinese market for their other product lines, but also not wanting to let other stakeholders in on their craven kowtowing to mammon. University administrators were probably also concerned that not submitting to the Chinese government would have wider consequences, such........

© The Japan Times