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LSE ‘seeks facts’ over expulsion at Peking

The London School of Economics is “attempting to establish the facts” over the expulsion of an academic from Peking University, one of its partners.

Chinese flag flying outside corporate building

Peking’s School of Economics voted last week to expel Xia Yeliang, a champion of free speech and critic of the ruling Communist Party, it has been reported.

The university has claimed Professor Xia was sacked for poor teaching but the academic has said he has been persecuted for his dissent as part of a wider crackdown on critics of the government.

A spokeswoman for LSE said: “LSE has noted that concern has been expressed in the media regarding Professor Xia’s apparent dismissal. LSE is currently attempting to establish the facts of the matter.”

The LSE runs two double masters degrees with Peking, one in international affairs and the other in public administration and government, as well as a summer school, executive training programme and collaborative research with the Chinese institution.

“Intellectual freedom is central to LSE’s work and its identity, and is one of the central principles of the School’s ethics code,” she added.

But Colin Riordan, the vice-chancellor of Cardiff University, which runs a joint cancer research institute with Peking, said that Professor Xia’s expulsion was “a matter for Peking University and it would be inappropriate for Cardiff University to take a position or comment on the decision”.

“Universities have their own procedures on accountability, agreed with their governing bodies, and as an autonomous institution we avoid intervening in the complex decisions that other institutions may have to take from time to time,” he added in a statement.

The LSE has been under particular pressure over its foreign partnerships since it was criticised in 2011 for its links to the now deposed Gaddafi regime in Libya.

In February earlier this year LSE pulled out of a conference in the United Arab Emirates after one of its lecturers was barred from the country for criticising the Bahraini monarchy.

david.matthews@tsleducation.com

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