Resolution regarding the use of Zoom (Nov. 20, 2020)

Image for post
Image for post

We propose that the Executive Faculty adopt and promulgate the following resolution (resolution text in plain text; explanatory material in footnotes):

In light of repeated cases of the Zoom Corporation violating freedom of speech and academic freedom by unilaterally shutting down meetings, including campus meetings sponsored by university faculty and approved by universities as campus events, the Main Campus Executive Faculty should call on Georgetown University to:

1. Develop and publicize alternatives to Zoom so that it no longer enjoys a monopoly as on-line classroom platform at Georgetown. …


A review of Klaus Mühlhahn, Making China Modern: From the Great Qing to Xi Jinping. Harvard University Press, 736 pp, £31.95, January 2019, ISBN 9780674737358.

Note: I was commissioned to write this review for a well-known general audience book review publication, who then spiked it (after paying me a kill fee). I took a long time and submitted an over-long, over-specialized draft, so I don’t think their decision not to run it was ideological. In any case, after mulling it over, I realized I wanted to write this for the China studies audience and not a general audience anyway, so I’m making my review essay available here for those who might be interested. I may treat Dr. Mühlhahn’s textbook too harshly — it’s not easy writing textbooks — but mainly because I see it repeating a problematic general approach that seems to me endlessly reiterated in textbooks, popular accounts and possibly survey classes. The field as a field has long known better, however. I criticize my own role in this, too. …


James Millward

Image for post
Image for post

These are my quick notes on reading General Secretary / Chairman Xi’s most recent speech about XUAR. Comments and corrections encouraged (here or on Twitter: @JimMillward )

For convenience, I pasted the Xinhua read-out of the speech below my notes.

  1. Separatism? Extremism? Terrorism?

Though that might not ever be highlighted in a speech of th …


By Merdan Ghappar (Mai-er-dan A-ba 麦尔丹∙ 阿巴)

Translated by James Millward. Reporting from BBC and Toronto Globe and Mail.

Image for post
Image for post
Merdan in a quarantine room in Kucha, February 2020

The text translated below was provided to the BBC and Toronto Globe and Mail as a series of overlapping screenshots taken from a single long text message (I’ve included the original screenshots at the end of this post.) The message describes the captivity of a young Uyghur man, Merdan Ghappar, in a police station in Kucha, Xinjiang. Ghappar, an artist and former dancer, worked as a model for the on-line retail company Taobao and lived in Guangdong in southern China. In 2018 he was arrested on a marijuana charge and served 16 months in prison. In January 2020, a little more than a month after his release from prison, agents from Xinjiang came to Ghappar’s home. They had been dispatched from Kucha, where Ghappar is registered in the PRC household registry system, to bring him back to Xinjiang, supposedly for re-registration and “study.” …


James Millward, 15 June 2020

Image for post
Image for post

Dear colleagues,

Back in late March and April as we were all getting used to Zoom, some privacy concerns emerged that I wrote to some of you about. Zoom’s CEO, Eric Yuan, addressed them surprisingly quickly and transparently, and our concerns were somewhat relieved.

Since then, though, there have been several more developments that have caused concerns among faculty and others. Zoom admitted that calls and user data had been “mistakenly routed through China”. In a conference call, Eric Yuan declared that his company would not offer its new end-to-end encryption to free users, because the company wanted to work with the FBI and law enforcement — this at the very moment when law enforcement was aggressively attacking mainly peaceful BLM protesters around the US. …


Image for post
Image for post

This is a translation of an article on Chinese re-education camps originally published in the New York Review of Books February 19, 2019, and permanently available (no paywall) on Chinafile, here.

被再教育的新疆穆斯林

原文作者: Professor James A. Millward

2018年7月,在哈萨克斯坦阿拉木图州札尔肯特镇,一位名叫Sayragul Sauytbay (萨依拉古丽·萨吾提拜) 的前幼儿园院长,正在冷静地向法庭描述着一个被中国官方持续否认的事实。那就是,一座座全新的巨型 “古拉格 …


James A. Millward
Osaka, June 26, 2019

Here’s an ice-breaker for Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping when they meet at the G-20 in Osaka: “Don’t you just hate it,” one might ask the other, “when people call your internment centers ‘concentration camps’?”

It is a surreal moment when the leaders of the world’s two most powerful countries and largest economies are both responsible for illegally locking up masses of people on the basis of ethnicity. Of course, Xi might argue that his camps are cleaner (at least the ones he lets the press see), and he doesn’t put children in cages. But, Trump might counter, he’s only thrown a few thousand Latin American asylum seekers in his prison-like facilities on the US southern border. And Xi holds 1–2 million Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples in his Xinjiang gulag. …


Image for post
Image for post
Frederick Starr, ed., Xinjiang: China’s Muslim Borderland and the top secret internally-circulated Chinese pirated edition with annotations revealing that a manuscript bearing Starr’s hand-written notes was smuggled to China before publication of the English language version

The piece below is an account of the visa-blocking since the early 2000s by China of several scholars who contributed to an edited volume about the Chinese region of Xinjiang. I go into some detail about the entire incident in an attempt to make clear, to the best of my knowledge, what happened, why, and what it means for China scholars working on sensitive topics. Today (late 2017) I still stand by most of my conclusions and my final assessment that scholars should not worry about what they write or say in scholarly settings. Don’t self-censor, in other words. That said, in recent years the sensitive subjects have become more sensitive, and Chinese authorities seem more interested in policing narratives outside of the confines of China and the Chinese language. …


Image for post
Image for post
Journal of Chinese Political Science: SpringerNature censors its own journal for China

Back in November 2017, Ben Bland reported in the Financial Times that the massive publishing conglomerate, SpringerNature, had cut some 1000 articles from two of its journals, The Journal of Chinese Political Science and International Politics, at the behest of the Chinese government. As with the Cambridge University Press scandal that came out earlier, the Chinese importer asked SpringerNature to cut articles from journals on the basis of keywords (“Tibet,” “Xinjiang,” “Cultural Revolution,” etc.). Cambridge eventually backed down after an international outcry (see my open letter here on Medium); later LexisNexis released a statement that said it had been approached to make similar cuts at the source to its database Nexis; in response it removed Nexis and LexisNexis from the Chinese market (leaving Lexis). Taylor & Francis, another commercial academic publisher, has informed me through the editors of Central Asian Survey that it will not razor articles from its digital versions of journals for China; if China tampers with them at the receiving end, there’s nothing the publisher can do, but T & F will not produce a bowdlerized version of its journals for the Chinese market. …


Open Letter to Cambridge University Press about its Censorship of the journal China Quarterly

Image for post
Image for post
Photo from the office of Prof. Howard Spendelow, Georgetown University, who understands the importance of retaining paper versions of journals.

James A. Millward

Professor of History

Georgetown University, Washington D.C.

Cambridge University Press’s decision to censor the journal China Quarterly as it is viewed online in China is a craven, shameful and destructive concession to the PRC’s growing censorship regime. It is also needless.

As recently reported, and admitted after the fact in a corporate statement, CUP has culled some 300 articles and reviews from a flagship journal on Chinese affairs after receiving a demand from some relevant organ in Beijing. (Possibly more alarming, but as yet unclear, is CUP’s admission that it has removed 1000 book titles from, apparently, its sales website in China at the behest of the PRC party-state.) The works CUP is now censoring from China Quarterly were researched and written by scholars from around the world who believed that upon acceptance these works would actually appear in the journal and not be removed willy-nilly. The articles were published in China Quarterly only after peer-review and expert editing; books in its book-review section were also originally peer-reviewed and selected by knowledgeable editors. CUP is thus, in response to pressure from Chinese authorities and without consulting its authors, countermanding the peer-review process and overriding the journal’s own editors about content in the journal. …

About

James A. Millward

James A. Millward 米華健 is professor of history at Georgetown University and mandolinist for By & By.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store