Statues of Communist leader Mao Zhedong in various Chinese temples (Bitter Winter).
Periodically I receive these emails, usually in the business-school dialect of babu English. Academic publishing, apparently, is full of scammy stuff like this.
Hope this mail finds you in best!
I am writing down this mail as a follow up in reference to the acquisition proposal I had sent recently. I request you to revert back and let us know if we can hope to take this forward.
Please feel free to get back to us with your valuable suggestions/queries.
Hoping for a positive response from your end.
Singapore | India | UK | US
Mobile/Whatsapp: +44 7451248959
Not the first, won’t be the last. If I set the price at US $500,000, could I string “Chia Appu” on for a bit? The only problem there is that I do not own The Pomegranate; Equinox Publishing does. I would need to take the money and move somewhere that has no extradition treaty with the UK.
Academia has its scams, all designed for people willing to trade money for shortcuts. “Diploma mills” have a hoary tradition, of course.
Sadly, I lost a friend over one of these shortcuts. “R.” had written a couple of articles for Pomegranate in the past, and he was good in his field. He then proposed another article, which appeared ready to publish — except that he wanted to list this Chinese professor as co-author.
Pagan studies is a fairly small world, and I had never heard of this man. I looked him up at [well-known Chinese university], and there he was, in the Dept. of Communist Studies or something like that.
It was clear to me that the Chinese professor had had nothing to do with writing the article, which was based on fieldwork in Western Europe. He was just being offered the chance to pad his c.v. in return for some other favor for R. — like a non-resident teaching position?
And there was more to the deal. [Well-known Chinese university] was supposedly starting a center for the study of new religious movements. The university was ready to “throw money at” the center’s projects.
If I were willing to designate their center as a “sponsor” of The Pomegranate and “put some Chinese names on the editorial board . . . the arrangement [would be] more than nominally profitable [for you].”
And there was no doubt that [Well-known Chinese university] had the cash.
There it was, a naked bribe. An odd experience. Had I been as financially shaky as R. thought I was — as financially shaky as he himself had often been until later in his career — I might have been more tempted. Sorry, professor of Communist studies, you are not going to buy your way in Pagan studies that easily.
I said no, and R. cut me off completely.
Something chilling occurred to me later. The incident was about five years ago. Since then, the mainland Chinese government has been cracking down on religion — all religions. The online journal Bitter Winter has carried many articles on the repression of not just “foreign” religions, mainly Islam and Christianity, in the People’s Republic, but also Buddhist and Taoist temples, new Chinese religious movements, and even family and clan memorial halls that go back for centuries.
All of them threaten President Xi Thought, apparently. All you can worship is Communism.
So if [major Chinese University] was preparing to study new reliigious movements, was that just part of a plan to wipe them out? There are predecents for that sort of thinking.