• Directory of Taiwan

German scholar refuses to teach in Chinese classrooms due to fear of CCTV cams

Scholar says Chinese government seperating local teachers from foreign students on campus

Alicia Hennig ( profile photo)

Alicia Hennig ( profile photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — China-based German scholar Alicia Hennig has cited CCTV monitors as one of the main reasons she has decided to quit teaching in Chinese classrooms.

Hennig says the world must recognize that fair collaboration with China is impossible at this point in time, according to a CNA report.

The Interim Professor at Dresden University of Technology is an expert in business ethics and has researched how traditional values in China inform business practice. She has taught at many universities in China, including Southeast University and Shanghai Jiaotong University among others, according to her online profile.

Hennig has 15 years of experience working in China. After starting out in the business world, she transitioned to teaching at Chinese universities in 2015. She said that her deep understanding of the bureaucratic structures and ideological control of Chinese colleges informed her decision.

Hennig said that since she has taught in China, the country has started restricting access to Western teaching material, saying overseas books she had ordered for her Philosophy of Economics course were detained by customs officials.

“Human rights is one of the topics I teach in the course,” she says. “I don’t wish to keep teaching in China as we are unable to have a real discussion on the issue in the classroom.”

She adds that her Chinese teaching colleagues were barred from teaching foreign students. Instead, foreign students had to be taught by foreign professors. Hennig said she believes this must be an order coming from the top.

In 2018, as Hennig began teaching at Nanjing University, she found the classrooms all had CCTV cameras installed in them. The risk of being monitored is another reason she does not wish to continue teaching, per reports.

“I know I am already being censored,” she added, referring to one time when the head of her institute requested her to delete some commentaries she had published on social media.

Hennig said she does not have a perfect solution for how the outside world should engage China in the current environment. However, she does assert we should stop deceiving ourselves that we are treated equally when collaborating with China because it is impossible under the current conditions.