Some Berlin-based organization called the Global Public Policy Institute (GPPi) has compiled a global “Academic Freedom Index.”
Evolutionary psychologist Lee Jussim has compiled some examples of Western academic freedom in action. Wrongthink papers are getting retroactively retracted. Blank slatism is the only acceptable explanation for differences in social outcomes. Nor is there much of a space for critics of American imperialist hegemony – I do not believe old warhorses like Noam Chomsky will be replaced in the decades ahead.
Western universities are turning into indoctrination camps where the officially sanctioned and only “handshakeworthy” worldview is Wokeperialism.
But really, as with most things, details matter. If you want to research the death toll of the Great Leap Forwards, I can't conscientiously recommend China as a base. Researching the B/W gap in intelligence? Yeah, I'd go with China in that case.
— 🇷🇺 ANATꙮLY 🤔 KARLIN (@akarlin88) July 27, 2020
However, even this assessment of mine on China may be unduly harsh.
As commenter yakushimaru says, a case can be made that there is now actually far more freedom of speech in a Chinese university than in your typical Western madrassa:
A female professor was relieved of her teaching duties when it became widely known that she’s been saying, publicly and on the web, things like praises of Japanese raping of Nanjing. She’s still got the salary and all. Just no more teaching. 🙂
And her sayings became widely known only because she’s involved in some active back and forth on the web over the COVID-19 handling in Wuhan. She’s been posting such stuff for quite a number of years.
She studied in a Japan university. On hearing her treatment, some Japanese professors protested publicly until they being informed that she’s saying praises of such kind and the Japanese professors took back their protest.
To be sure, the West retains the edge in international university rankings. But these things coast largely on past reputation and accomplishments. China now published more papers than the US, and are rapidly catching up in terms of total number of “quality” publications as well e.g. as proxied by the Nature Index (indeed, China now leads on the Physical Sciences + Chemistry section, with the US only retaining its absolute lead thanks to a huge advantage within the “softer” Life Sciences).
Wael Taji Miller, in a 2019 article for Palladium Mag, argues this is an unsustainable and necessarily temporary state of affairs:
Despite these challenges, Western universities remain ahead in most established global rankings. While it seems likely that Western universities will retain the top spots for the near future, we might pause to question how much their status derives from actual research output and teaching quality, rather than the reputational benefits that ‘eliteness’ brings. Ultimately, whether or not the outraged backlashes against figures like Carl are justified makes no difference to the larger picture, wherein Western college campuses are increasingly characterized by student conflicts, redlined research topics, and the elevation of external societal goals above internal academic outcomes.
Incidentally, there is possibly even greater academic freedom in Russia than in either the West or China. While Western researchers have to submit to the braying SJW mobs, and Chinese researchers at least have to pay lip service to ideology, there’s neither one nor the other in Russia. So far.