Over 100 American college professors signed a joint letter on Tuesday demanding greater transparency of their colleges and universities with regards to business dealings with the Chinese government, as reported by the Washington Free Beacon.
The letter states, in part, that “universities and research institutions in liberal democracies also have a responsibility to respond to transnational academic repression and to protect a diversity of views. At a minimum, this requires real transparency over agreements signed with counterparts in autocratic states.”
The letter was signed in opposition to new sanctions leveled by the Chinese government in March against three professors and a German think tank. The sanctions were in response to the professors’ work in exposing concentration camps for Uighur Muslims that have been built and maintained by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
There has been increasing scrutiny of American colleges and other institutions of higher education that have attempted to strike lucrative business deals with the Chinese government. Professors at Cornell University recently protested the university’s efforts to start a joint program with Peking University in China; their concerns were ultimately dismissed by the university’s provost and the associate dean. One of the signatories to the new letter is Cornell University Professor Magnus Fiskesjo.
The administration of President Donald Trump had also taken action against such deals and other shady ties between American universities and China, with President Trump signing an executive order demanding that American universities fully disclose any and all financial ties to China. But when Joe Biden took power, he rescinded that order and allowed universities to continue such dealings, thus putting the burden of opposition and demands for transparency back on professors, students, and other activists.