James Millward 米華健 Profile picture
Historian of China & Central Asia and mandolinist for By & By. Books on Xinjiang, the Qing Empire, the Silk Road, and stringed instruments across Eurasia.
Christopher James Profile picture Bert Profile picture Aston Kwok Profile picture Xin Profile picture 4 added to My Authors
Jun 15 5 tweets 2 min read
A strong case why we need faculty oversight over diversity, equity, inclusion bureaucracies on campus--just as there is faculty governance / involvement in the other areas of university life, from curriculum to renovation of buildings. theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/… It is not just the US left using the "hostile environment" argument to shut down speech or attack professors. Besides right wing, in some places PRC embassy has coordinated claims of campus racial harassment when PRC policies are criticized by faculty, visiting speakers or art.
Jun 14 7 tweets 2 min read
Interesting Chinese Whispers podcast re PRC *social credit system,* with Jeremy Daum and Vincent Brussee @Vincent_WDB but HUGE gap in their analysis: #Xinjiang version of social credit system IS the Black Mirror @CindyXiaodanYu
spectator.co.uk/podcast/mythbu… The podcast says so-called social credit system in PRC is not one thing, rather mishmash of local pilots, financial credit rating, Yelp done by the govt, etc. PRC Govt. "not interested" in more dystopian use of broad spectrum monitoring and scoring commentators fixate on
Mar 28 4 tweets 1 min read
Disturbing news from AAS2022 (Association of Asian Studies conference, this past weekend) that PRC-based scholars were blocked from participating by their government. Some gave "medical reasons" as reason for not joining on Zoom. The extent of this is not yet clear, but broad which is to say, not a danwei here and there preventing their professors from participating, but center-level mandate to ignore the main international interdisciplinary conference on Asian studies. It's a return to before 1979, when PRC isolated itself from global scholarship.
Sep 15, 2021 5 tweets 1 min read
A lot of comments to this thread missed the point. Being able to speak a standard national language is not the a problem--that's advantageous. The problem is the state forbidding people from speaking other languages--which is what PRC policy increasingly does. The US examples would be: kids punished for speaking Spanish on the playground; Chinese students forbidden from speaking Chinese to each other in the dept. corridor. Or MAGA-maniacs accosting foreigners in a supermarket for speaking something other than English while shopping.
Sep 15, 2021 14 tweets 3 min read
I've been wondering to what extent the assimilating Mandarinization drive under Xi targets not just non-Chinese languages like Uyghur and Mongolian, but Sinic languages like Sichuanese and of course Cantonese. Here's news of a regulation requiring "putonghua" in 四川 work units: I had the privilege of studying briefly with Rulan Chao Pian, daughter of Yuen Ren Chao 趙元任, the foundational Chinese linguist. Zhao Yuanren was involved in the creation of standard Chinese, and tells what an arbitrary process t was:
Aug 15, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
All China scholars, regardless of field and where in PRC you work, should read this essay by Guldana Salimjan. She’s providing great resources on the XJ atrocities, and … blog.westminster.ac.uk/contemporarych… a trenchant argument why we can’t ignore “minorities” and “borderlands” as China scholars: Han majoritarian privilege shares many of the same problems as white privilege…
Apr 2, 2021 6 tweets 2 min read
One thing that has not got enough attention: the new "Uyghur language and literature" textbooks that replaced the supposedly subversive (CCP approved) old ones, teach Uyghur language with old Chinese lit translated into modern Uyghur. Uyghur literature itself was mostly cut. This is like teaching Spanish literature, not with Don Quixote or Garcia Marquez, but with Shakespeare or Updike translated into Spanish as the main texts. And saying that teaching Spanish with Don Quixote is separatist, and throwing the textbook editor in prison.
Mar 26, 2021 12 tweets 2 min read
The flaws in the argumentative logic are so cringe-worthy, but also so telling. I've been trying to articulate the ironies and problems with current PRC whataboutism over racial, indigenous issues (next) This trolling is seemingly premised on the idea the "Americans" (as a collective) want to defend our national past, and have no grounds to critique CCP. But in fact, the obvious answer is "yes, coerced cotton-picking is bad. That's why we're calling it out (next)
Jan 20, 2021 22 tweets 6 min read
State Dept determination, 1/19/2021, that PRC policies in Xinjiang Uyghur Region comprise genocide and crimes against humanity is important. Below, first, essentials, then I'll discuss Pompeo's lies in the statement (a thread for the record) 1/22 bit.ly/3nTi5ig This follows a November Biden campaign statement calling the policies in Xinjiang "genocide," so we can expect the new administration will continue to endorse this determination once it takes office tomorrow 2/22. axios.com/biden-campaign…
Jan 18, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
This needs to be explained. The Covid reasons explain foreign places: Hing Kong, Macao, Taiwan. It does not explain excluding Uyghurs (next) Is there an outbreak in Xinjiang? Not reported. And Uyghurs are only one component of Xinjiang’s population. So Uyghurs are forbidden for a different reason.
Nov 15, 2020 17 tweets 3 min read
Coordinated disruption of Brandeis webinar on Xinjiang: a thread. web.archive.org/web/2020111504… Link above is archived version of a letter sent to Brandeis Chinese students by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association. It says the event would disrespect Chinese people (forgetting the Uyghurs are also Chinese people?) and that critical academic events are inappropriate.
Nov 15, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
Some too-loose writing by @nyt @KatherineKornei about early horse riding in Xinjiang. Mistake is saying that Xinjiang in 350 BCE was "China": it wasn't politically, and it wasn't culturally. (Thread)
nytimes.com/2020/11/13/sci… Story says scientists found "oldest direct evidence of horseback riding in China" and implies this is riding by Chinese or proto Chinese, in contrast to "neighboring civilization" in Mongolia. But western boundaries of Zhou and Qin empire were some 1700 km east of these burials.
Oct 29, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Zoom is at it again. Last summer it cancelled meetings about Tiananmen and Hong Kong. Now it has cancelled university meetings about Palestine (SFSU) and meetings about the cancelation (U Hawaii Manoa) and NYU. mesana.org/advocacy/lette… A third party service provider simply cannot be allowed to determine content on our campuses. If they say their corporate policies require them to do so, our university policies must require us to cancel our contracts. There are other providers of the same services.
Oct 5, 2020 10 tweets 3 min read
Chinese student jailed for his social media activity while a student at Minnesota. This is a test for University of Minnesota @UMNews --and other universities who should join in solidarity and strength: axios.com/china-arrests-… I assume and hope Minnesota @UMNews is working behind the scenes on this student's behalf, providing legal aid, involving US State Dept., tapping alumni in PRC, opening back doors, whatever is possible and advisable. But
Sep 24, 2020 7 tweets 2 min read
Interesting thread here from Sheena Greitens about distinguishing between Uyghur Region and Tibet region indoctrination and coercive labor policies. But I think “security” in the wrong lens to see this through. (Thread) If viewed as attempts aimed at ethnic assimilation in PRC colonies, the common denominator of both XUAR and TAR policies is clear. Neither people present serious threats to security other than in the colonies themselves. But after 70 years, persistent
Sep 21, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
To the folks on the left who (I guess) think that because Trump administration is sanctioning officials in Xinjiang and listing companies conected to the genocide, the reports of genocide must be bullshit, I say Use your head. Read around. There are lots of detailed sources reporting with many different types of evidence, transparently cited. Many many separate media reporting this independently. Don’t believe faux-lefty sites with dubious relationships to authoritarian states.
Sep 17, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
Seems to confirm scale of camps system (1.3 million a year). Journos and scholars got it right. This may also include people put through mandatory "educational transformation" without being confined--the less punitive tier of the huge punitive system. scmp.com/news/china/pol… Worth noting: PRC only provided free public education (including Chinese language) in Xinjiang countryside since 2014. There might have been a better way to educate than charging subsistence farmers for school for 65 years, then suddenly locking millions in camps. But---
Sep 13, 2020 11 tweets 3 min read
Disney CFO said they filmed Milan in Xinjiang” to accurately depict some of the unique landscape and geography for this historic period drama.” But XJ was not under Chinese rule when film set. This was not historically accurate. nytimes.com/2020/09/12/bus… If XJ wasn’t building a gulag while Disney was filming, it might have been fine to filme there because the landscapes are cool, like New Zealand where they also filmed.
Sep 12, 2020 6 tweets 2 min read
Well, this got quite a response! Those with better Uyghur language tend to like "an": amazon.com/Uyghur-English… I used "a" in the first edition of EC. So did Jay Dautcher: he spoke great Uyghur, and used "a Uighur" in his Down a Narrow Road. @RianThum uses "a Uyghur" in his Sacred Routes (except once on p. 207 where "an Uyghur" slips in!)
Sep 11, 2020 5 tweets 1 min read
Thanks for the helpful replies. From these at least, 朝 is clearly used in different compounds to mean the current state / court, maybe current reign era. I don’t think the sense of family “dynasty” is strong. Many of you intuited what I’m getting at: why not refer to these states as states? English / French “Dynasty” as used for China implies, it seems, that families come and go but the state remains. I don’t think past Chinese usage gave that sense. (More)
Aug 20, 2020 4 tweets 1 min read
I'm retweeting this, because I had misread it in an earlier thread. The call from State is for universities to divest from PRC firms on the Entities List, which I don't necessarily disagree with. However, given broad-brush Trump admin anti-China rhetoric
state.gov/letter-from-un… this trend of USG targeting US universities for alleged insecurity vis-a-vis China needs watching. It's mostly patent protection: business to business stuff, not national security. And lots of the research is basic medical work: why shouldn't US and China collaborate on that?