The International Journal of Human Rights, an academic journal, has published a study on academic freedom in Germany. The study argues that German state, universities, and scholarly societies have so far failed to properly identify and mitigate threats to academic freedom emanating from state and non-state agents under the control of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). According to the study’s abstract:
October 21, 2021 The authors probe whether or not the ecosystem of organised academia in Germany provides sufficient academic autonomy for scholars to conduct their research without fear or favour. Despite constitutional guarantees of academic freedom, academics face multiple threats from populist politicians, dubious third party funding, uncivil society, and misguided developments within German academia itself. These domestic threats are exacerbated on the international stage by the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) globalised censorship regime, dubious party-state funding from China, the weaponisation of informal Chinese social networks, and an unhealthy dependency among Western China scholars on ‘official China’. The authors reveal that the German state, universities, and learned societies have so far failed to properly identify – let alone mitigate – threats to academic freedom emanating from state and non-state agents under control of the CCP. They argue that while German parties have largely abdicated political leadership, German universities exhibit shortcomings in terms of their ethical leadership. Drawing on an in-depth analysis of a controversial statement by the Board of the German Association for Asian Studies (DGA) the authors argue that leading China scholars also seem unwilling or unable to exercise intellectual leadership. The article concludes with policy recommendations to remedy this problem.
Read the full study here.
The study details how the Chinese government influences Germany’s academia through informal social networks, party-state funding of German universities, and the dependence among some German China scholars on ‘official China.’