To the Editor:
Recently Professor Yeliang Xia’s case has attracted media attention (“Does Academic Freedom Vary by Nation? Chinese Scholar’s Case Spurs New Debate,” The Chronicle, October 24). In September, 136 Wellesley College faculty members signed an open letter threatening academic exchanges with Peking University. A Peking University faculty-reappointment committee had voted not to renew Mr. Xia’s contract, citing poor teaching evaluations; the university has received more than 340 complaints from students. The reason for the outrage here is that Professor Xia happens to be an outspoken activist against the government.
“Even in China, Dissidents Sometimes Get Fired Just for Being Bad at Their Jobs” from The Atlantic is the only article from the U.S. that offered balanced view. American journalists should interview more Peking University faculty and students, instead of just listening to Professor Xia, before drawing their conclusions. It is very dangerous when only one voice is heard, in any society.
Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright (Wellesley College Class 1959) said that Sino-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the 21st century. Richard Nixon opened the door to China when China was far, far worse than today. Wellesley’s partnership with Peking University should continue because young people from both China and the U.S. benefit from it.
Professor of Mathematics