Prof. Gordon Mathews wrote an opinion piece (Academics denied their place in debate on Hong Kong) for South China Morning Post, pointing out the significant problems of the Research Assessment Exercise in Hong Kong. The exercise, imported from Margaret Thatcher's Britain, will rank different academic departments as to their research productivity and distribute funding accordingly.
The seemingly reasonable assessment favours research written in English and for Anglo-American publishers. As a result, although unintended, it renders humanists and social scientists no more than mute technocrats and bureaucrats instead of public intellectuals and makes Hong Kong universities increasingly resemble
those of Singapore and mainland China.
Prof. Mathews said: "If I were a Chinese official in Beijing, I would be very happy that the
exercise keeps Hong Kong academics publishing books and articles in
distant places that few people read, rather than engaging in public
debate through their research and publications on Hong Kong."
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