Home GRASP GRASP/China World's oldest publisher reverses 'shameful' China censorship

World's oldest publisher reverses 'shameful' China censorship


Cambridge University Press has reversed a decision to censor hundreds of articles at the request of the Chinese government.
The university press, which describes itself as the oldest publishing house in the world, had admitted to blocking online access in China to academic works on Tiananmen Square, the Cultural Revolution and Tibet.
The University of Cambridge said in a statement on Monday that its academic leadership and the publisher had agreed to reinstate the blocked content “with immediate effect” to “uphold the principle of academic freedom.”
The censored academic articles appeared in the highly regarded journal China Quarterly. Its editor, Tim Pringle, said the reversal followed a “justifiably intense reaction from the global academic community and beyond.”
“Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research, ” he said in a statement on Monday. “It is not the role of respected global publishing houses … to hinder such access.”
The decision to censor the articles drew condemnation from academics around the world.
It represented “a craven, shameful and destructive concession” to the Chinese government’s “growing censorship regime, ” Georgetown University professor James Millward wrote in an open letter published over the weekend.
By Monday, an online petition threatening a boycott of the publisher and its journals had gathered hundreds of signatures.
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The not-for-profit publisher had defended its action as necessary to ensure that China doesn’t block “entire collections of content.” It said it would never proactively censor its own content.

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