OPINIONS West's 'academic freedom' only a myth


West's 'academic freedom' only a myth

China Daily

11:37, May 17, 2023

A screenshot of Maureen Huebel's tweet about her planned 2024 Xinjiang trip.

What Australian scholar Maureen A. Huebel experienced recently is an example of how all talk of academic freedom in the West is just a myth.

Huebel said on her Twitter handle that she planned a trip to the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region to "study how the Uygurs have contributed to the substantial growth in Xinjiang GDP and look at their population growth", but was bombarded with criticism, with some commenting her account was "fake" and others accusing her of spreading "propaganda".

In fact, her handle was briefly suspended following a complaint by Adrian Zenz, the "scholar" who fabricated "forced labor" lies about Xinjiang. Now her account has been restored but the arguments continue.

Huebel's experience is enough to peel the mask of academic freedom off the face of the West. When Zenz invented "forced labor" lies about Xinjiang, they said he was exercising his "academic freedom" and protected him. But where is this shield of academic freedom when Huebel wants to go there to find the truth for herself? Instead, we see the face of "anti-China propaganda" being fully active now.

Enough debate has taken place about Xinjiang. The local governments in Xinjiang have invited journalists and travelers to visit the place, but a strong political force in the West always tries to prevent anyone from making the trip.

Such bias in the West will harm Xinjiang, as it will stop Xinjiang cotton from being sold in Western countries. Those in the West need to know that such bias will hurt their society even more because it will widen the social divide and blind their own people from having the wisdom to know what's true and what's false.

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