Edition 223 - November 2019

SAR Reports: Obstacles to Excellence and Freedom to Think 2019

The Scholars at Risk network has recently published two relevant reports addressing numerous instances of limitations to academic freedom worldwide, the consequent tensions and reactions by academia and the wider community, and the violent repression by the governments in the countries covered in the reports.


Obstacles to Excellence

The Obstacles to Excellence report focuses specifically on China and the identified measures to curb academic freedom both at individual and institutional levels – from intimidation to punishment and imprisonment of vocal academics, to pressures at institutional levels, particularly in the Autonomous and Special Administrative Regions, and many more cases of repression and manipulative activities in international relations. The report draws on the existing body of knowledge, media and human rights reports, legal documents, individual expertise and SAR’s work. It also includes recommendations for Chinese state authorities, university leadership, and civil society in China aimed at strengthening understanding of and respect for academic freedom.


Full report here.



Freedom to Think 2019

Free to Think 2019, the fifth annual report within SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, covers the one-year period between September 2018 and 2019 and investigates 324 attacks on higher education communities in 56 countries worldwide. Some of the countries and higher education contexts covered by the report are India, Turkey, Sudan, Brazil and China, where attacks take place in the forms of killings, violence, and disappearances; wrongful prosecution and imprisonment; loss of position and expulsion from study; improper travel restrictions; and other severe or systemic issues (including, university closures or military occupation of campuses).


The report provides certain guidance for diverse stakeholders—states; higher education institutions, associations, and societies; faculty, staff, and students; media; and the public—in order to help them to promote and protect academic freedom.


Full report here.

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