A new national security law Beijing has imposed on Hong Kong is compelling professors in the U.S. to take measures to protect students from China and Hong Kong. Jonathan Friedman, director of PEN America’s Campus Free Speech Program, said the following in response:

“We are seeing a chilling illustration of the global consequences of the Chinese government’s system of censorship, surveillance, and criminalization of speech. It is terrifying, but all-too-logical that American academics are developing ‘code names’ and content warnings in order to shield their overseas students from being prosecuted by Chinese authorities. The campus classroom—even a virtual one—must be a place where students can engage in open expression and debate, free from fear. Any law or policy, from any government, that undermines the safety of students to speak freely is a dagger in the heart of academic freedom.

“It is alarming to hear college professors say they feel unable to protect their students. If professors feel they cannot do anything, university leaders must step up. U.S. college administrators must do all they can to push back against these threats, including by publicly recognizing the risk that China’s criminalization of free speech poses to the over 350 thousand mainland Chinese and Hong Kong students studying at US universities.”

Read more about our work on promoting free speech on campus here.