Peking’s Economics Professor Expelled for Promoting Free Speech


Xia Yeliang, an economics professor at Peking University, has been forced to give up his position in the School of Economics for his criticism of the Chinese government and favoring free speech and rule of law.

The school's 34-member faculty voted 30-3 in favor of his dismissal. Yeliang's contract will be valid until January.

Yeliang is angry at his dismissal but helpless.  "I am angry inside, but I must face it with composure," Yeliang, who has been associated with the university for over 13 years, told SCMP.

He added that he has been advised by the university officials not to openly link his expulsion to politics.

"I can't say that it is a political issue," Yeliang told Miami Herald. "I can only say it is an academic issue."

Yeliang said that once the contract expires, he would start looking for opportunities elsewhere, may be at American universities.

Recently, the intellectual community, media and the Internet have come under heavy government surveillance. The government in power does not want democratic values to pose a challenge to its legitimacy, SCMP reports.

Before the termination of his contract, the university officials had warned Yeliang several times to tone down his political opinions.

Yeliang, a visiting scholar at Stanford University for the academic year 2012-13, has been a pro-democracy activist for several years. In 2008, he helped draft Charter 08, a petition urging for democratic freedom and human rights in China, the Herald reports.

This is not first time Yeliang has been punished for his liberal views. In the past also he was under police observation for several years and faced house arrest.

In recent months, the authorities have reportedly asked certain college campuses to stop classroom discussions on press freedom, judicial independence and civil society. The Chinese authorities are enforcing the restrictions strictly following a growing liberal environment among younger students, particularly those who've been educated in the West.

ver since the strict crackdown on pro-democracy activists and bloggers , American institutions like the New York and Duke University, with new campuses in the country or others who are considering opening branches, are now reconsidering their decisions. They do not want to cash in on the opportunity at the cost of limited academic freedom.

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