Thursday, April 12, 2007

Have China Scholars All Been Bought?

That's the question asked by Carsten Holz, economist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, in an article in the Far Eastern Economic Review. (Hat tip: Arts and Letters Daily)

He asks:
Does it matter if China researchers ignore the political context in which they operate and the political constraints that shape their work? Does it matter if we present China to the West the way the Party leadership must like us to present China, providing narrow answers to our self-censored research questions and offering a sanitized picture of China's political system?
I'm not altogether sure if the situation for China scholars is nearly as bad as the picture painted by Holz, but the questions he raises are serious ones.

Read the whole thing.

3 comments:

MTC said...

"Have China Scholars All Been Bought?"

...and you think that a certain embarrassing proportion of Japan scholars are not bought, wrapped, bagged and packed in the back of the SUV?

"Does it matter"? Sure it does.

Can something be done about it? Hmmm, now that is an interesting question.

Keep up the excellent work.

David said...

I read the article, and thought it offered a good glimpse into the real China.

mtc asked, "Can something be done about it?" And I think the answer is yes.

I believe all democracies wishing to inter-act with China should do so carefully. However, the lure of big money makes things difficult... But not impossible.

Regards,

Anonymous said...

And Japan scholars are not bought?

Japan with very few exceptions controls the research agenda on Japan in the West. And through their selection of what male researchers get invited to conferences, to present papers, to get grants, and to have internships in the Diet they have controlled the last 25 years of scholarship and created a certain class of Japan policy experts.

The Japanese system to control access is not so unlike the Chinese Communist one. Indeed, I would posit there is more independence among the China scholars.

Ostracization and denial of access are at least considered pluses for an American China scholar.

Edith Cavell