April 19, 2014

In Spite of Protests, Peking University Expels Respected Economics Professor

English: An entrance to the Peking University

English: An entrance to the Peking University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a letter to the President of Peking University Wang Enge, CCS urged cancellation of an upcoming faculty vote to expel University Professor Xia Yeiling for his support of free speech and constitutional government. Xia, a respected authority on economics, is a visiting professor at Stanford, but said that he wants to return to China to continue teaching.

January 2013 Update

President Wang Enge
Peking University
No. 5 Yiheyuan Road,
Haldian District, Beijing
Peoples’ Republic of China 10087

July 31, 2013

Dear President Wang:

We are an independent organization of scientists, physicians, engineers and scholars devoted to the protection and advancement of human rights and scientific freedom for colleagues all over the world. We write now in concern for Professor Xia Yeliang of Peking University.

As fellow physicists and members of the American Physical Society, which honored you in 2007, we welcome your accession to the prestigious post of University President. As academics, we all support your goal of making your university a world -class seat of learning and research, as you promised in your remarks upon being appointed. We therefore urge you to prevent a vote by your faculty that would punish Professor Xia, one of your respected academic colleagues, for his opinions, and deprive Peking University of his expertise.

We understand that Dr. Xia Yeliang is a professor in the Department of Economics at Peking University. His research fields include institutional economics, macroeconomic analysis and public policy, economic history, and labor economics. He has been teaching Principles of Economics, Labor Economics, Institutional Economics, and Western Economic History at Peking University since 2000. He has been an outspoken advocate of free speech and constitutional government.

According to the South China Morning Post, Xia expects a faculty vote in the fall to expel him from the University because of his opinions. “They told me it’s because of all the things I have said and written,” Xia said. “They have threatened me before, but this is the first time they will vote on my expulsion.” Xia does not believe that he will have an opportunity to defend himself at this proceeding. He added that he could not remember the last time the faculty voted on expelling a professor. Currently a visiting scholar at Stanford University in California, Xia said he planned to return to Beijing by the end of August. “I have opportunities to stay [in the US], but I want to keep teaching in China,” he said.

We urge you to cancel the planned faculty vote and assure Professor Xia that he may continue as faculty member at Peking University.

Sincerely,

Eugene Chudnovsky
Alexander Greer
Joel Lebowitz
Walter Reich
Paul Plotz

Co-Chairs, Committee of Concerned Scientists

Copies to:

Professor Xia Yeliang, xiayeliang@pku.edu.cn