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Cambridge University Press does a U-turn, unblocks over 300 articles on its China site

The ban had sparked protests from scholars, who termed it an affront to academic freedom.

British academic publisher Cambridge University Press on Monday reversed its decision to censor hundreds of scholarly articles on its website in China. More than 300 articles were removed from The China Quarterly, an academic journal run by the publisher, last week following a ban by the Chinese import agency.

The move had sparked various protests, including an online petition that amassed over 1,000 supporters. Scholars had called the ban an affront to academic freedom.

The China Quarterly’s editor Tim Pingle had expressed his disappointment when the ban was put in place. He said that works relating to the 1989 Tiananmen Square democracy protests, the 1960s Cultural Revolution, Tibet and Hong Kong were among the 315 titles that were banned.

Following the reversal of the decision, Pingle said, “Access to published materials of the highest quality is a core component of scholarly research.” It is not the role of respected global publishing houses such as the Cambridge University Press to hinder such access, he added. “The China Quarterly will continue to publish articles that make it through our rigorous, double-blind peer review regardless of topic or sensitivity.”

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