tirsdag 25. august 2020

How To Teach China This Fall

The coming academic year presents unique challenges for university instructors teaching content related to China. The shift to online education, the souring of U.S.-China relations, and new national security legislation coming from Beijing have brought new sensitivities and new risks to our classrooms.

On June 30, 2020, the Chinese National People’s Congress passed the Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL). The law creates the potential for government authorities to interpret a wide range of speech and actions as the commission of or advocacy for secession, subversion, terrorism, or collusion with a foreign country against the People’s Republic of China (PRC) or the Hong Kong government specifically, regardless of citizenship or location of the offender. The broad scope of the NSL raises new and serious concerns for researchers, teachers, and students of China, especially when it comes to vulnerabilities associated with remote learning.

Most universities, if not all, have adopted Zoom as the videoconferencing technology for teaching since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the U.S. While the use of Zoom has facilitated remote teaching, it creates challenges to scholars who teach topics, narratives, and arguments China’s government deems “sensitive”—that is, out of bounds for debate. Specific to Chinese politics, several recent incidentsinvolving Zoom and the PRC have raised the alarm on the use of Zoom in light of China’s NSL. As an Association for Asian Studies (AAS) statement recently pointed out, data generated from Zoom and other video conferencing applications is vulnerable to surveillance by the Chinese state.