Xia Yeliang (Chinese: 夏业良; born 1960) is a former untenured associate professor of economics at Peking University. He was one of the early drafters and signers of Charter 08 in 2008. In June 2013 he was given notice by a Communist party official at the School of Economics that a faculty vote regarding termination of his position at the university was scheduled. He was dismissed in October 2013. PKU issued an announcement afterwards, claiming "In recent years, Xia's teaching evaluations has been consistently the lowest of the whole School of Economics. The school has received more than 340 student complaints since 2006. The hiring and promotion committee voted against the renewal of his contract on Oct 26, 2012. As a courtesy, the school gave Xia one year extension for possible improvement. On Oct 11, 2013, the committee voted again. 34 out of 37 members showed up. 3 voted yes, 1 abstained, and 30 voted no. The school therefore terminated the contract."
Although media said that the complaints contained allegations that Xia gave "anti-Party and anti-socialism" speeches in class, the School has not made public the teaching evaluations or any other verifiable information regarding the evaluation process. In media interviews, Xia has claimed he has not been allowed to see the student evaluation instruments and that it is impossible therefore to determine if there is any factual basis for the claims made against him by the School of Economics. Xia called on supporters to contact universities across the country and suggest that he be given an administrative position in a library, something that Xia argued should not present a difficulty if his termination was solely based on student dissatisfaction and not politically motivated.
Xia, a supporter of democracy and human rights, has been outspoken in the past going so far as to directly criticize Liu Yunshan, director of the Propaganda Department of the Communist Party of China with respect to censorship and asking him, "how he thinks he has the power to control other people's thoughts." Liu is now a member of the Politburo Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China, the top leadership of the People's Republic of China.
Xia was a visiting scholar at Stanford during the summer of 2013 and visited Wellesley College during August. Wellesley faculty have strongly rallied to his support, though several members of the faculty, including a Chinese national professor of mathematics with ties to the Communist Party of China, worked actively to try to discredit Xia on Wellesley's campus. The effort was not successful and he was appointed as a Visiting Fellow of The Freedom Project at Wellesley College and will receive the annual Freedom Project Award for Civil Courage in September 2014 .  According to Xia, he has been pressured for years by university officials to keep quiet about his views and has been followed routinely by security personnel. Nevertheless, in 2013, Xia expressed surprise regarding the upcoming faculty vote. Xia and a few others are believed to be targets of a campaign underway since May 2013 to suppress 7 categories of information.
Notes and references
- PKU scholar set to be dismissed Global Times 21 October 2013
- Jonathan Kaiman, Chinese professor sacked amid free speech crackdown The Guardian 21 October 2013
- "Professor Says Peking U. May Expel Him in Political Crackdown". The Chronicle of Higher Education. September 13, 2013. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Amy Li (September 12, 2013). "Don’t expel liberal professor, US academics urge Peking University". South China Morning Post. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- Lara Farrar (May 20, 2013). "China Bans 7 Topics in University Classrooms". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved September 19, 2013.
- "China Warns Officials Against ‘Dangerous’ Western Values" article by Chris Buckley in The New York Times May 13, 2013
- "China’s New Leadership Takes Hard Line in Secret Memo" article by Christopher Buckley in The New York Times August 19, 2013