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Interview with Qin Gao, Author of Welfare, Work, and Poverty: Social Assistance in China

Official state media reports in China frequently speak of how the Communist Party-led government has “lifted 700 million people out of poverty” since implementing economic reforms in the late 1970s. Yet there are still millions of people in the country who struggle to maintain long-term employment and constantly teeter on the edge of a financial cliff. Dibao, or the Minimum Livelihood Guarantee, is a government program intended to help its recipients step back from the edge of that cliff. By distributing cash payments to those who qualify, Dibao is meant to provide China’s poorest citizens with the funds to cover their basic expenses during periods of un- or under-employment. First implemented in Shanghai in 1993, Dibao was expanded to all urban areas in 1999 but has only been available to rural residents since 2007; there are now approximately 60 million people receiving welfare payments through the program. AAS Member Qin Gao, a professor at the Columbia University School of Social Work ...

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Update on Chinese Censorship of Academic Publications

As reported in mid-August, representatives of the Chinese government asked Cambridge University Press (CUP) to remove from its Chinese website 315 China Quarterly articles on so-called “sensitive” topics (Taiwan, the Cultural Revolution, Tiananmen, etc.). At that time, CUP also conveyed to the Association for Asian Studies a Chinese request that 100 Journal of Asian Studies articles be blocked in China. Under pressure, CUP reversed its decision and lifted the block of the China Quarterly articles before any JAS articles were affected. AAS has issued a statement in strong defense of academic freedom. Since then, AAS officers and staff have continued monitoring the situation. There are no new updates concerning our Journal of Asian Studies, which remains fully accessible to AAS members in China. However, other publications have been affected by censorship in China, and this episode has prompted many members of the academic community to discuss academic integrity, scholarly labor, and possible respo ...

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The Politics of Compassion: An Interview with Bin Xu

After a devastating earthquake hit China’s southwestern Sichuan Province on May 12, 2008, thousands of volunteers left their homes in other parts of the country and traveled to Sichuan to help victims of the quake. This outpouring of assistance surprised many Chinese, who for years had lamented about a perceived moral vacuum and lack of compassion in their society. As Emory University sociologist Bin Xu explains in his new book, The Politics of Compassion: The Sichuan Earthquake and Civic Engagement in China (Stanford University Press), the 2008 earthquake threw a spotlight on civic engagement in the country, bringing non-governmental organizations and social networks that had previously been little-known onto the national stage. Xu has spent years investigating the dimensions of this civic engagement, first joining the volunteers as a participant-observer and subsequently conducting interviews with those who stepped forward to assist in Sichuan’s recovery from the earthquake. In The Politi ...

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List of JAS Articles Identified for Blocking—But Not Blocked—in China

On August 18, 2017, the Association for Asian Studies (AAS) was informed that Chinese authorities had requested Cambridge University Press (CUP) remove 94 Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) articles and book reviews from its website in the People’s Republic of China.* The AAS and CUP refused that request, and no JAS articles or book reviews have been blocked in China. In the interest of transparency, below is a PDF of the complete list that AAS received from CUP of the “sensitive” JAS pieces as identified by Chinese authorities and organized chronologically (oldest to newest).  List of JAS articles identified for blocking in China (PDF) Although we have removed author names, the AAS has made every effort to contact the authors of these works and inform them of their presence on this list. If any authors of the articles or book reviews listed here have questions or concerns, we ask them to contact AAS Digital Media Manager Maura Cunningham at mcunningham@asian-studies.org for as ...

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Reading Round-Up: The Journal of Asian Studies and Censorship in China

Over the past 10 days, there has been widespread coverage of the Chinese government’s request that Cambridge University Press (CUP) prevent its website in China from displaying 100 Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) articles on topics deemed “sensitive” by the Chinese state. The AAS and CUP both refused that request, and no JAS articles have been blocked in China. Here, we’ve assembled a reading round-up of all the news stories that reported on this still-ongoing situation. If you haven’t done so yet, please check out our posts here at #AsiaNow covering the situation: AAS Statement on Cambridge University Press Censorship in China Frequently Asked Questions about the Journal of Asian Studies and Censorship in China A Summary Explanation of the Journal of Asian Studies Articles That Were Not Censored News articles reporting on the JAS censorship request: Ben Bland, “Cambridge University Press Makes U-Turn on China Censorship.” Financial Times, August 21, 2017. J ...

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A Summary Explanation of the Journal of Asian Studies Articles That Were Not Censored

Earlier this week, the Association for Asian Studies announced that the Chinese government had relayed a list of 100 Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) articles to Cambridge University Press (CUP) and asked that CUP block those articles from its Chinese website. Since then, numerous journalists and scholars have contacted the AAS requesting access to the list. At the present time, the AAS board of directors has decided not to publicly release it. JAS is currently making every effort to notify the authors of the JAS articles and book reviews in question. However, the AAS also recognizes that there is great interest among scholars in the topics of articles and book reviews that the Chinese government has asked CUP to block. (To be clear: NONE of these articles/book reviews have been removed from the JAS website in China, and the AAS remains committed to ensuring that such censorship does not take place.) In order to provide information to those who are conducting research into censorship mechanisms in China, we ha ...

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Frequently Asked Questions about the Journal of Asian Studies and Censorship in China

In a statement released at #AsiaNow on Monday, August 21, the officers of the Association for Asian Studies wrote that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had received a request from the Chinese government that CUP censor approximately 100 Journal of Asian Studies (JAS) articles from the Chinese version of its website. As the statement has circulated, the AAS has received inquiries from both the media and association members asking for additional details about the situation. A few of the most frequently asked questions and responses from the AAS officers appear below. When did AAS receive the censorship request via CUP? Friday, August 18. Do you have any details about what consequences would ensue if CUP doesn’t comply? We are pleased that CUP reversed its decision and are continuing to monitor the situation. How is AAS following up with CUP? We are in contact with the individual in charge of the publication of journals at CUP. She has informed us of CUP’s reversal. She has also promised ...

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AAS Statement on Cambridge University Press Censorship in China

On Friday, August 18, Quartz, the New York Times, and other media outlets reported that Cambridge University Press (CUP) had complied with a demand from the Chinese government that approximately 300 China Quarterly articles concerning sensitive topics (Tibet, Taiwan, Tiananmen Square, and others) be omitted from search results on CUP’s website when accessed in China. CUP also blocked more than 1,000 e-books on similar topics from the Chinese version of its website. Scholars from around the world protested this action, and earlier today the editor of China Quarterly announced that CUP would restore its full archive to users in China, a decision we fully support. The Association for Asian Studies has received notice from CUP that a similar request has been made by China’s General Administration of Press and Publications concerning approximately 100 articles from the Journal of Asian Studies, an AAS publication. The officers of the association are extremely concerned about this violation of academi ...

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AAS Member Spotlight: Wen-hsin Yeh

Wen-hsin Yeh is Richard H. & Laurie C. Morrison Chair Professor in History at the University of California at Berkeley. She will deliver the keynote speech at this year’s AAS-in-ASIA conference at Korea University on Saturday, June 24. Your discipline and country (or countries) of interest: Modern Chinese History How long have you been a member of AAS? Possibly since 1983—I can’t recall! Why did you join AAS and why would you recommend AAS to your colleagues? I joined when I was a graduate student. AAS provided great opportunities to learn about the state of the field. How did you first become involved in the field of Asian Studies? I can’t say for sure. I have always been interested in history and I love reading books. One book leads to another. And I also enjoy working with documents—about recovering the circumstances of their creation. What do you enjoy most or what were your most rewarding experiences involving your work in Asian ...

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Excerpt: Opening to China, by Charlotte Furth

Charlotte Furth is Professor Emerita of History at the University of Southern California and previously taught at California State University, Long Beach. She is author of numerous academic articles and books, including A Flourishing Yin: Gender in China’s Medical History, 960-1665 (University of California Press, 1999), for which she received the “Women in Science” award from the History of Science Society. In 2012, the AAS honored Furth with its “Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies” award in recognition of her decades of service to the field. Furth earned her Ph.D. in Chinese history at Stanford University in 1965—an era when it was virtually impossible for Americans to travel to the People’s Republic. With the establishment of relations between the United States and PRC over the course of the 1970s, Furth and other scholars finally had the opportunity to spend time in the country they studied. She visited the PRC for the first time in 1976 on a two-week d ...

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