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Scholar Fired by Peking U. Takes a Fellowship With Cato Institute

Xia Yeliang, the Chinese scholar and human-rights campaigner who was fired by Peking University this past fall, will become a visiting fellow at the Cato Institute on Monday, The New York Times reported, and he is calling on American universities to be careful about their partnerships with Chinese universities. “They use the reputations of Western universities to cover their own scandals,” he told the newspaper.

Mr. Xia, an economist, said his former dean in Peking had told him that the support he had received from academics in the United States, including a petition led by professors at Wellesley College, had hurt his chances of keeping his job in China. “She said, ‘You were exploited by them,’” he told the Times. “She formally told me, ‘You think we all have to listen to American professors, but you’re wrong. If they didn’t do this, you wouldn’t be in this position.’”

Mr. Xia has drawn support among American academics since last summer, when he learned that his position at Peking was in jeopardy. In September more than 130 professors at Wellesley signed a petition urging Peking University officials not to fire Mr. Xia. The professors said that they believed Mr. Xia was being pressured for political reasons and that they would encourage Wellesley to reconsider its institutional partnership with Peking if it fired him.

Wellesley’s partnership with Peking University is continuing, the Times reported, and Professor Xia will be a visiting associate at Wellesley’s Freedom Project. The Freedom Project is led by Thomas Cushman, a professor of sociology at Wellesley who organized the petition supporting Mr. Xia.

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