Chinese Professor Calls for Less Censorship for Academia
On June 26, 2012, the state-sponsored Global Times published an editorial by Wu Chuke (吴楚克), a professor at the Minzu University of China (中央民族大学), entitled "Let There Be Fewer 'Sensitive Points' for Academic Research" (让学术研究少些“敏感点). Some excerpts:
These days the amount of freedom within the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences has significantly progressed, and speech and publishing has relaxed a great deal. But we still often run into articles or content that is "too sensitive" and cannot be published, or situations where an article can only be published after the "sensitive content" has been deleted. To a certain degree, this makes it difficult to publicize true public opinion, and makes it impossible to bring the common wisdom to bear on major social issues, to the point where it creates opportunities for foreign media to make ad hoc judgments about the popular will in China.
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In fact, the particular government agency employees and publishing companies often cannot correctly grasp "what is sensitive and what is not sensitive," and "when is it sensitive and when it is not sensitive." This is in part because there volume of information is too great, and develops too quickly, such that any one person is unable to understand the specific circumstances. For example, this writer went to Taiwan to present a paper at a conference, but the relevant personnel believed it was too sensitive, when in fact the paper had already been published in a newspaper. They just didn't have time to read all the newspapers.
It is also in part because we hope to maintain a "Chinese-style unanimity between the top and the bottom" in front of outsiders. And some media refuse to publish media debates "for fear of hassles" citing grounds of "excessive sensitivity," lest foreign media, embassies, and other groups constantly create "hassles" for our publishers.
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Over the long run, this will lead people to blindly believe reports from overseas media about domestic events. In addition, all of the enormous energy spent on "unanimity between top and bottom" will be overwhelmed by a few "negative" news stories, and people will be more inclined to believe information from non-mainstream sources.
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