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Academic Freedom, Free Expression and China's Quest for World-Class Universities

Endangered Scholars Worldwide, in collaboration with Scholars at Risk and University of New Orleans Press, presented an evening panel discussion of China’s higher education system, its goals, and its challenges. The discussion reflected on the government’s aspirations for the higher education system and the difficulty of pursuing these goals in the context of limitations on academic inquiry. The discussion focused on the government’s stated goal of creating world-class universities in China, and asked how this can be reconciled with continuing reports of prosecution and other forms of pressure against individual scholars and intellectuals.

Can China become a world leader of higher education without full academic or expressive freedom? What challenges does this pose for Western universities partnering with Chinese higher education, whether domestically, by hosting student exchanges and Confucius Institutes, or through overseas programs or branch campuses? And what do these challenges in China mean for institutions partnering with higher education communities in other countries where academic and expressive freedom may be similarly constrained?

Panelists: Teng Biao, Chinese human rights lawyer; visiting scholar, NYU School of Law Adam Braver, author, writier-in-residence, Roger Williams University Jewher Ilham, author and activist for her imprisoned father, Ilham Tohti Carl Minzner, professor of Law, Fordham University, School of Law Moderator: Jerome Cohen, faculty director, US-Asia Law Institute, NYU School of Law

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