Beijing hinders free speech abroad

By Cindy

China Digital Times

At The New York Times, Wang Dan, a former leader of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, looks at the growing reach of Chinese censors on American college campuses as Beijing attempts to export its political control beyond its borders. Chinese international students studying in the U.S. were discouraged from attending Wang’s forums on Chinese politics due to fear of reprisal.

[…O]ver the past three months, my efforts on American campuses have been stymied. The Chinese Communist Party is extending its surveillance of critics abroad, reaching into Western academic communities and silencing visiting Chinese students. Through a campaign of fear and intimidation, Beijing is hindering free speech in the United States and in other Western countries.

The Chinese government, or people sympathetic to it, encourage like-minded Chinese students and scholars in the West to report on Chinese students who participate in politically sensitive activities — like my salons, but also other public forums and protests against Beijing. Members of the China Students and Scholars Association, which has chapters at many American universities, maintain ties with the Chinese consulates and keep tabs on “unpatriotic” people and activities on campuses. Agents or sympathizers of the Chinese government show up at public events videotaping and snapping pictures of speakers, participants and organizers.

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