Institutions of higher learning around the world should resist the Chinese government’s efforts to undermine academic freedom abroad, Human Rights Watch said today. On March 21, 2019, Human Rights Watch published a 12-point Code of Conduct for colleges and universities to adopt to respond to Chinese government threats to the academic freedom of students, scholars, and educational institutions.
Many colleges and universities around the world with ties to the Chinese government, or with large student populations from China, are unprepared to address threats to academic freedom in a systematic way, Human Rights Watch said. Few have moved to protect academic freedom against longstanding problems, such as visa bans on scholars working on China or surveillance and self-censorship on their campuses.
“Colleges and universities that stand together are better equipped to resist Chinese government harassment and surveillance on campuses, visa denials, and pressures to censor or self-censor,” said Sophie Richardson, China director at Human Rights Watch. “Most important, they will be better prepared to ensure academic freedom on their campuses for all students and scholars, particularly those from China.”