It’s not uncommon for teachers, professors, academics, or even lawyers, to be whisked away by police after speaking or writing on the Chinese Communist Party’s corruption and human rights abuses. Some of these courageous souls re-emerge … others disappear, never to be seen again.
Take Yang Shaozheng for example, a professor who taught game theory and advanced microeconomics at Guizhou University for 11 years.
Yang, who has an excellent reputation, was expelled from the university on Aug. 15, 2017, for “long-running publication and spreading online of politically mistaken speech, writing a large number of politically harmful articles, and creating a deleterious influence on campus and in society.”
Moreover, the 49-year-old professor was reportedly guilty of “being unrepentant,” and rejected the Chinese Communist Party’s attempts to re-educate him on his political views.
So, what did he write that cost him his job, and now his freedom?
Prior to his disappearance, he spoke to Radio Free Asia in November 2017. Yang told of how the Public Security Bureau in Guizhou Province required he meet them for a “chat” prior to a politically sensitive occasion, the 19th Party Congress, that was held in October 2017.
“They said that during the 19th Party Congress I had to keep my mouth shut,” said Yang. “I couldn’t speak, couldn’t write anything online, and couldn’t say anything political during class. I said to them at the time: what you’re doing here is illegal according to our national constitution.”
Yang refused to be silenced.
“The second time they came to me was the very evening of the opening ceremony of the 19th Party Congress, at about 9:00 p.m. They first accused me of spreading rumors. I asked them where I was supposed to have spread rumors and demanded that they present the facts. They had no facts to present. In the end they told me explicitly that I had to shut up, and then asked whether I’d do so or not. I told them clearly that I wouldn’t be quiet. They froze my Weibo account. I told my students about what happened.”
In an article titled “Can We Really Leave the Party Out of Our Economic Research?” submitted to NTD in November 2017, Professor Yang pointed out that of the 20 million plus Party officials, it will cost the country 2 trillion Chinese yuan (approx. US$291 billion) annually just to maintain these officials.
Yang’s comments are in light of Party officials’ corruption and embezzlement of State funds.
Moreover, his reaching out to NTD, a New York-based global news and entertainment media that is banned in China and that delivers truthful news about the persecution of Falun Gong—a peaceful meditation practice that grew too popular for the Party’s liking in the 90s—rang the Party’s alarm bells.
In a more detailed analysis, which was published on Yang’s now-deleted Sina blog, he wrote: “As long as nothing changes, the society that has to sustain the more government officials will ultimately collapse.”
As Yang no longer had any platform with which he could be heard in China, he took to Twitter, which is inaccessible in China without a VPN, and tweeted: “The more I think, the more distressed I become. It’s hard to pursue the truth; it’s hard to speak the truth; and it’s hard to be a truthful person. Being able to freely express ourselves, without terror, is our dream.”
Yang had been a thorn in the Communist Party’s side for too long, and his last tweet, including his article sent to NTD, proved too pointy.
His blogs on Sina and WeChat were shut down, his classrooms were silenced, the university expelled him, he’s been forbidden from teaching, and his appeals were ignored.
A couple of days ago on Aug. 23, Professor Yang and his family were intercepted at the China-Hong Kong border at Shenzhen Luohu Port when they were on their way to visit relatives. He was taken aside for “a major crime” and told he was forbidden from exiting the country.
“One of the reasons was that I accepted interviews from overseas reactionary media,” Yang told The Epoch Times.
“Reactionary media” is Party jargon for any non-State-controlled media, like Radio Free Asia and NTD, which report truthfully on the Chinese regime’s corruption and human rights abuses.
Professor Yang’s ongoing battle to speak the truth under a totalitarian system highlights the plight of the nation’s 1.3 billion people … and raises the question on when they will ever be granted freedom of speech.
And if you thought the Chinese regime was only trying to silence its own citizens, think again.
Watch the interview with Clive Hamilton below: