We find the targeting of Dr Jo Smith Finley in the sanctions announced by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26th March 2021 outrageous and baffling. In a democracy it is unacceptable to sanction a scholar because they have exercised academic freedom and their peer-reviewed research has uncovered evidence and drawn conclusions that a government does not wish to be known or discussed. We commend the response of the UK government and of Dr Smith Finley’s employer Newcastle University in fully honouring the principle of academic freedom and publicly supporting this respected scholar. It is imperative that UK academics are reassured that they will never be left to fend for themselves in upholding academic freedom and integrity and that they are supported against the bullying of those attempting to wield their greater power.
BACS Council 29th March 2021