Xia Yeliang was a professor of economics at Peking University until his contract was not renewed effective January 31, 2014. He was one of the early signers of Charter 08 in 2008. In June 2013 he was given notice by a Communist party official at the School of Economics that a faculty vote regarding termination of his position at the university was scheduled. He was warned to not characterize his dismissal to foreign media as "political."[1][2]

Xia, a supporter of democracy and human rights, has been outspoken in the past going so far as to directly criticize Liu Yunshan, director of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China with respect to censorship and asking him, "how he thinks he has the power to control other people's thoughts." Liu is now a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, the top leadership of the People's Republic of China.[3]

Xia was a visiting scholar at Stanford University during the summer of 2013 and visited Wellesley College during August. Wellesley faculty have strongly rallied to his support.[4] According to Xia, he has been pressured for years by university officials to keep quiet about his views and has been followed routinely by security personnel. Nevertheless, in 2013, Xia expressed surprise regarding the upcoming faculty vote. Xia and a few others are believed to be targets of a campaign underway since May 2013 to suppress 7 categories of information.[5][6][7][3]

Notes and references

  1. "China dismisses professor advocating free speech" article by William Wan in The Washington Post October 19, 2013
  2. "Xia Yeliang, an Outspoken Chinese Professor, Says He Has Been Dismissed" article by Chris Buckley in The New York Times October 19, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Professor Says Peking U. May Expel Him in Political Crackdown", September 13, 2013. Retrieved on September 19, 2013. 
  4. Amy Li. "Don’t expel liberal professor, US academics urge Peking University", September 12, 2013. Retrieved on September 19, 2013. 
  5. Lara Farrar. "China Bans 7 Topics in University Classrooms", May 20, 2013. Retrieved on September 19, 2013. 
  6. "China Warns Officials Against ‘Dangerous’ Western Values" article by Chris Buckley in The New York Times May 13, 2013
  7. "China’s New Leadership Takes Hard Line in Secret Memo" article by Christopher Buckley in The New York Times August 19, 2013
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