Outrage over crackdowns on foreign scholarship and Hong Kong democracy activism – China’s latest top news

Jeremy Goldkorn’s selection of the top stories from China on August 18, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.

Cambridge University Press bowdlerizes academic journal for China

Quartz reports that Cambridge University Press (CUP), one of the world’s oldest publishing houses, “said it has pulled over 300 articles and book reviews on its China site from the China Quarterly, one of the most prestigious journals in the China studies field, at the request of the government’s General Administration of Press and Publication (GAPP).” Subscribers outside of China will continue to have access to the censored articles.

In the New York Times, Ian Johnson — frequent Sinica Podcast guest and veteran China journalist — points out (paywall) that “until now, foreign academic presses were largely immune to this sort of censorship,” but that “the new measures seem in line with announcements made by President Xi Jinping in February 2016 that all media content on any platform must come under the Communist Party’s ‘guidance.’”

CUP has published a list of all the censored articles.  

Reactions to jailing of young Hong Kong activists

As we noted yesterday, Hong Kong activists Alex Chow 周永康 (26), Nathan Law 罗冠聪 (24), and Joshua Wong 黃之鋒 (20) have been sentenced to seven-, eight-, and six-month jail terms respectively for taking part in an “unlawful assembly” that kicked off the 79-day “Umbrella Movement” protests of 2014.

  • China Digital Times has a good roundup of new coverage of the sentences.
  • The Guardian has published “an open letter from political figures around the world” calling on Beijing to free the activists.
  • The West’s most prominent China legal scholar (and Sinica Podcast guest) Jerome Cohen tweeted: “The defendants’ actions were political, and so is the government’s prosecution. They are political prisoners.”
  • The Straits Times reports that Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying 华春莹 reacted to criticism of the jail sentences by saying: “Hong Kong people are fully entitled to rights and freedoms. But no one can use the excuse of so-called democracy and freedom to conduct illegal violent activities.”

Japan backs India in border dispute with China

The ongoing dispute between China and India, which a Chinese official in July called “the worst in 30 years,” just became a little more consequential:

The Indian Express reports that “Japan has conveyed its unequivocal support to India and Bhutan through diplomatic channels — a first by a major country, which is China’s neighbor.”

Meanwhile, after the execrable Xinhua News Agency video about the dispute, India Today has published an animated video about the dispute.  

American POWs in China and Chinese in Mississippi

Two videos to watch this weekend:

  • They Chose China, a documentary by Wang Shuibo about 21 American soldiers who were captured by Chinese forces during the Korean War and opted to stay in China when hostilities ended in 1954.
  • The Mississippi Delta Chinese, a short documentary by Al Jazeera about Chinese Americans in the Deep South.

What makes you itch

The China Daily reports that a team at the Institute of Neuroscience at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have published a paper in the U.S.-based journal Science that maps “a critical pathway for transmitting the sensation of an itch from the spinal cord to the brain.” The discovery may lead to new treatments for patients suffering from chronic itchiness.