China Quarterly debate a matter of principle

Source:Global Times Published: 2017/8/20 23:48:39

Western media outlets recently reported on an e-mail from Tim Pringle, editor of journal the China Quarterly. The e-mail revealed that publisher Cambridge University Press (CUP) had complied with a Chinese request to block access to more than 300 articles from the journal. The articles are mostly about the 1989 Tiananmen incident, the Cultural Revolution (1966-76) and "Tibetan independence." The CUP explained that the move was to avoid having other publications "censored" by the Chinese government.

Some media see the China Quarterly as a leading British China studies journal, albeit with few readers. The media criticized China for strengthening its censorship. The Chinese side hasn't responded to these foreign reports.

As the readership of the China Quarterly is limited, there will be little impact over the CUP withdrawing some articles. The Western media, which must have other things to pay attention to, seems more sensitive than some relevant Chinese authorities.

China has a number of laws and regulations concerning cyber security. The China Quarterly is published overseas. There is no overlap between the two sides. The CUP can enjoy academic freedom under British law. But overseas media reports that it set up a server in China hoping to explore the Chinese market, which has to abide by the Chinese law. As long as the Chinese request was made in accordance with the law, there is no reason to be critical.

China has blocked some information on foreign websites that it deems harmful to Chinese society. This is for the sake of China's security and is within the scope of China's sovereignty. China is also trying to strike a balance between opening itself up and preventing harmful external information from penetrating into Chinese society, to realize steady and sustainable progress.

Western institutions have the freedom to choose. If they don't like the Chinese way, they can stop engaging with us. If they think China's Internet market is so important that they can't  miss out, they need to respect Chinese law and adapt to the Chinese way. Now it seems that some Western institutions would like to make adjustments, while some forces are unhappy about it.

This should be a rivalry between the two sides. One can accuse the other of caving in to the Chinese market. But ironically some only criticized the "tough stance" of the Chinese government and felt aggrieved that China's laws and regulations can make some Western institutions respect Chinese regulations. These Westerners are arrogant and absurd.

The West's values and interests have been positioned at the core of human society. This is a rule made by the West's strength. If China becomes powerful and has the ability to maintain its own interests, it is bound to take actions. It is worth noting that China's Internet laws and regulations are defensive, not offensive to the West.

It doesn't matter if some articles on the China Quarterly disappear on the Chinese Internet. But it is a matter of principle. Time will tell whose principles cater more to this era.


Posted in: EDITORIAL

blog comments powered by Disqus