ThinkChina Analysis: Social Science in China; Between a Rock and a Hard Place – University of Copenhagen

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17 October 2019

ThinkChina Analysis: Social Science in China; Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Although heavily investing in research and development, China keeps the Party line straight. University research is acquiring a level that compares to the world with high-end universities, but the state’s political interests influence academic work. In this analysis, University of Copenhagen professor Jørgen Delman investigates the state of social science and the academic freedom of scholars in China. By analysing recent policy initiatives and research developments, Delman paints a picture of a well-developed academic landscape in China that, however, within specific sensitive political areas, is under great pressure due to the Chinese censorship. This goes for foreign researchers publishing in China, and possibly also Chinese researchers publishing internationally.

Key takeaways:

  • China has a highly qualified cadre of social scientists publishing good social science research, in China and abroad.
  • The Chinese academic censorship extends to foreign publishers in China to prevent Chinese scholars from accessing international scholarly articles on sensitive subjects.
  • We do not know if there is an effective censorship mechanism to block Chinese researchers from publishing internationally if their research is considered sensitive.
  • Xi Jinping has consistently called for more Party and ideological control within the universities, and academic freedom seems to become constantly narrower.

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This article was originally published by eBioZoom