Date
24 September 2017
Sayed Gouda is blaming Chinese officials for ruining his chances to pursue an employment offer from Beijing Normal University. Photo: Facebook
Sayed Gouda is blaming Chinese officials for ruining his chances to pursue an employment offer from Beijing Normal University. Photo: Facebook

Egypt academic lashes at China over ‘absurd’ reaction to novel

An Egyptian academic is speaking out against the Chinese government, saying he is being punished for his novel.

Sayed Gouda wrote Closed Gate based on his experiences as an exchange student in Beijing from 1988 to 1989 when he witnessed the Tiananmen crackdown.

He blamed Chinese officials for ruining his chances to pursue an employment offer from Beijing Normal University, Ming Pao Daily reported Thursday.

On Tuesday, the university withdrew the offer, saying it could not obtain a visa for him.

Gouda had earlier agreed to work as a visiting assistant professor from March to July.

He linked the turn of events to government “retaliation” against the novel, which tells of the experiences of a Palestinian youth during the tumultuous months of the pro-democracy protests.

Gouda said it is impossible to describe life in Beijing at that time without mentioning the protest movement.

He said he is not capable of harming the Chinese government, calling Beijing’s reaction to his work “absurd”.

Hong Kong’s June 4th Museum in Tsim Sha Tsui held a book launch for the novel in mid-January.

Last year, Gouda, who has a PhD from the City University of Hong Kong, applied for a teaching position in Beijing Normal University.

In December, the school offered him employment as a tenured visiting assistant professor and Gouda subsequently agreed to the employment terms.

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