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Cambridge University Press makes U-turn on censorship decision

2017/08/22 16:56:48

Taken from Cambridge University's website

London, Aug. 22 (CNA) The Cambridge University Press (CUP) is reversing its decision to pull over 300 China Quarterly articles from its website in China after it snowballed into a censorship scandal.

In a statement, CUP indicated that the initial decision was made reluctantly and a meeting of high-level officials at Cambridge University, for which CUP is the publishing arm, have since reversed it.

The statement went on to say that the reversal was intended to protect academic freedom.

China Quarterly's editor Tim Pringle noted that the journal welcomed the reversal of the removal, for which CUP never sought the journal's consent.

CUP's decision to remove 315 articles and book reviews on subjects considered sensitive by the Chinese government, such as Tianamen, the Cultural Revolution, Tibet, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and Taiwan, came at the request of China's General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).

Since the decision became public knowledge on Aug. 18, there has been a widespread backlash against the publishing house including a 1000-signature petition to boycott CUP's services from associate professor Christopher Balding at Peking University HSBC School of Business and letters from Massachusetts Institute of Technology economics professor Greg Distelhorst.

CNA found earlier today that a search of "Tiananmen" on the CUP database in China produced 302 results, whereas only five results were available during the period of censorship.

While academics applauded CUP's decision as a step in the right direction, many such as Distelhorst are wary that the GAPP will continue to make such requests of academic journals with regards to what may be considered politically sensitive information.

The Association for Asian Studies spoke out today, saying that the administration has asked CUP to remove 100 articles from the Journal of Asian Studies, though the publishing house has not acted on the request.

(By Tai Ya-chen and Kuan-lin Liu)
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