滕彪文集
[主页]->[独立中文笔会]->[滕彪文集]->[An Editor Speaks Out: Teng Biao, Darkness Before Dawn, and ABA]
滕彪文集
·China's international relations at a time of rising rule of law challe
·Seven Chinese activists wrote to the Dutch King
·七名中国民主人士致信荷兰国王
·專訪維權律師滕彪對中國法治人權的解讀
·中共的政治株连
·Dictatorship is a Decapitator, Whether it Tortures You or Treats You W
·Innocence project movement in China rises to aid the wrongfully convic
·好處沙龍【選後台灣如何面對中國巨變】
·“你恐惧,中共的目的就达到了”
·SOME QUESTIONS FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA TO ASK PRESIDENT XI
·Book Debate Raises Questions of Self-Censorship by Foreign Groups in C
·Leaked Email: ABA Cancels Book for Fear of ‘Upsetting the Chinese Gov
·Is the ABA Afraid of the Chinese Government?
·Middle way should not be the only voice: Chinese activist to Tibetans
·Middle way not the only way for Tibet, says Chinese rights lawyer
·被曝光的电邮:怕惹恼北京美国律师协会取消出版《黎明前的黑暗》
·美律协违约拒为滕彪出书 国会要求解释
·高智晟:ABA和滕彪哪個更應該強大
·Lawmakers Pounce After ABA Scraps Book by China Rights Lawyer
·American Self-Censorship Association/WSJ
·An interview with China’s foremost rights lawyer Dr Teng Biao
·纽约时报:中国律师新书命运引发在华NGO自我审查争议
·Is China Returning to the Madness of Mao’s Cultural Revolution?
·The Conundrum of Compromise/Robert Precht
·Congress Still Calling Out ABA Over Canceled Book Deal
·No country for academics: Chinese crackdown forces intellectuals abroa
·中共血債大於其他專制國家
·江绪林之死反映中国知识分子精神痛苦唯有自杀寻求解脱
·"THERE WILL ALWAYS BE SOME BRAVE ACTIVISTS WHO REFUSE TO KEEP QUIET"
·“你们全家都是共产党员!”
·滕彪和江天勇获第25届杰出民主人士奖
·访滕彪:中国司法何以如此“高效率”
·'China wacht een revolutie, ik hoop een vreedzame'
·Arrestatiegolf China toont angst van regime
·ENTRETIEN AVEC LE DéFENSEUR DES DROITS DE L'HOMME TENG BIAO
·Le Parti communiste chinois est confronté à une série de crises
·英媒:遭受打击 中国知识分子被迫出国
·709 Crackdown/ Front Line Defenders
·Cataloging the Torture of Lawyers in China
·南海仲裁的法理基础及其对中国的政治冲击
·the Comfort of Self-Censorship
·G20前夕美国家安全顾问会晤中国人权人士
·Chinese dissidents urge Obama to press Xi Jinping on human rights at G
·China blocks major civil society groups from monitoring G20 summit
·Open Letter to G20 Leaders attending the 2016 G20 Summit
·自我审查的自我安慰/滕彪
·细雨中的独白——写给十七年
·Rights lawyers publicly shamed by China's national bar association
·沉默的暴行
·中共“长臂”施压 维权律师滕彪妻子被迫离职
·除了革命,中国已经别无道路
·高瑜案件从一开始就是政治操控
·毛式文革与恐怖主义之异同——国内外专家学者访谈
·最高法维护狼牙山五壮士名誉 学者批司法为文宣服务
·滕彪和杨建利投书彭博社 批评美国大选不谈中国人权议题
·“未来关键运动的发起者可能是我们都不认识的人。”
·政治因素杀死了贾敬龙
·中国维权人士在达兰萨拉与藏人探讨“中共的命运”
·黑暗的2016:中国人权更加倒退的一年
·滕彪談廢死
·滕彪:酷刑逼供背後是国家支持的系统性暴力
·在黑暗中尋找光明
·专访滕彪、杨建利:美国新法案 不给人权侵害者发签证
·海内外民主人士促美制裁中国人权迫害者/RFA
·A Joint Statement Upon the Establishment of ‘China Human Rights Accou
·关于成立“中国人权问责中心”的声明
·Group to Probe China's Human Rights Violations Under U.S. Law
·The Long Reach of China to Silence Its Critics
·王臧:极权主义,不止是“地域性灾难”
·Trump has the power to fight China on human rights. Will he use it?
·纪录片《吊照门》
·「吊照门」事件 引发法界震盪
·脸书玩命想进中国/RFA
·中国反酷刑联盟成立公告
·德电台奖冉云飞滕彪获提名
·中国维权律师:风雨中的坚持
·Harassed Chinese rights lawyer still speaking out on Tibetans’ plight
·Beijing Suspends Licenses of 2 Lawyers Who Offered to Defend Tibetans
·VOA连线:中国反酷刑联盟成立,向酷刑说“不”
·Announcement of the Establishment of the China Anti-Torture Alliance
·Chinese Court Upends 13-Year-Old Rape, Murder, Robbery Convictions
·中共迫害律师的前前后后
·Scholars Return to YLS to Discuss Human Rights Advocacy in China
·Abducted Activists
·中国的民间反对运动与维权运动
·Conversation on China’s human rights: Professor provides first hand a
·Exiled Chinese lawyer says the country is moving toward a new totalita
·VOA时事大家谈:抓律师两高人大邀功,保政权司法第一要务
·滕彪讲述被绑架和单独关押的经历
·Chinese human rights lawyer stresses the duty to resist
·山东“刺死辱母者”案,为何引发民意汹涌?/VOA
·关于审查《城市流浪乞讨人员收容遣送办法》的建议书
·Street Vendor’s Execution Stokes Anger in China
·[video]Academic freedom in the East and Southeast
·海外华人学者成立民主转型研究所VOA
·美国律师协会为受难律师高智晟出书/VOA
·郭文貴爆料,為何中國當局反應強烈?
·杨银波:搞滕彪、李和平,我看不过去
·Chinese Rights Lawyer Strikes Back at ABA Over Scuttled Book/WSJ
·China puts leading human rights lawyer on trial for 'inciting subversi
·丧尽天良,709维权律师李和平被灌不明精神药物!
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An Editor Speaks Out: Teng Biao, Darkness Before Dawn, and ABA

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/editor-speaks-out-teng-biao-darkness-before-dawn-bar-jon-malysiak/?published=t
   
   An Editor Speaks Out: Teng Biao, Darkness Before Dawn, and the American Bar Association
   
   

   Jon Malysiak
   
   In light of present controversies pertaining to China’s influence on Western publishers and academic institutions, as well as a wonderful recent profile piece about Teng Biao in the New York Times, I thought now was an appropriate time to come forward with my own story. I was the Executive Editor at ABA Publishing (the publishing division of the American Bar Association) behind what I’ve come to call The Teng Biao Affair.
   
   In October 2014, my editorial director at the time presented me with an article from the New York Review of Books profiling Chinese human rights lawyer Teng Biao. The article featured a photograph of Teng holding a copy of the China Law Deskbook, one of ABA Publishing’s top-selling titles. As I was particularly interested in acquiring books related to human rights issues, my director felt this might be something I’d be particularly keen to pursue.
   
   I emailed Teng and pitched him the idea of writing a book about his experiences trying human rights cases in China. As it turned out, Teng was already in the early stages of writing a manuscript and didn’t as yet have a publisher. Together we developed a proposal for his memoir, tentatively titled Darkness Before Dawn. I explained how the acquisition process worked and scheduled my presentation of Teng’s proposal for the upcoming November 2014 acquisitions meeting, typically attended by the publisher, the directors of marketing, production, and editorial; and the acquisitions editors.
   
   I went into that meeting feeling confident that Teng’s proposal would be favorably received, as the book seemed tailor-made for the ABA.
   
   Sadly, the response was not what my editorial director nor I could ever have anticipated. The initial concern was that it wouldn’t appeal to American readers. One of the senior managers even asked, and I don’t think rhetorically: “Who gives a shit about little Chinese widget-makers?” Amid heated accusations of racism – and a reluctance on the part of other senior managers at the table to condemn this particular manager’s offensive remark – additional concerns were expressed that the publication of a book that might be seen as critical of the Chinese government would put the work of the ABA’s ROLI (Rule of Law Initiative) team at risk in China.
   
   I hadn’t spoken to anyone at ROLI and this meeting was the first time any such concern was expressed to me.
   
   We decided to table the discussion until we’d received feedback from NBN (National Book Network), our distributor. We often relied on the input of our distributor before making any final decisions about publication, especially when the acquisitions team was not in unanimity.
   
   NBN’s feedback was split as well. One response was that they couldn’t recommend we move forward, while another thought it could be a successful book if it was written in a non-academic, compelling narrative style. I shared this feedback with my acquisitions team. And to my knowledge, there wasn’t any further discussion about it, at least none that I was a part of.
   
   A week or so later, my editorial director came to me and said I had approval to extend an offer to Teng for his book. My assumption was that he had received this approval from the Publisher. The chain of command at the time was such that outside of the monthly acquisitions meetings, I, as an Executive Editor, had very little direct interaction with the Publisher. Any such communication was filtered through my boss down to the editors. I saw no reason to question anything was different here.
   
   I emailed Teng the good news and extended an offer. He accepted. Then perhaps a week or two later, my editorial director came to me with the news that I had to rescind the offer. I asked him if the reason was concern that publication of such a book could jeopardize the work of ROLI in China and if that was what I should tell Teng. I was told yes.
   
   Teng’s response was very gracious. I apologized and said that while I didn’t agree with my publisher’s decision, I had to honor it. I then offered to send the proposal to a literary agent I knew whom I thought might be interested in representing him. I sent the proposal, and that was the end of my contact with Teng and involvement with Darkness Before Dawn. This was in early 2015.
   
   In April 2016, my publisher’s boss – ABA Publishing’s Director of Business Services – came into my office and said I needed to meet with General Counsel. An article was about to be published accusing the ABA of cancelling Teng’s book out of fear of recrimination by the Chinese government. My email correspondence with Teng was included in the article, though my name was not released as per Teng’s request to the media.
   
   It was clear from the onset that the ABA was in damage control mode. I met with General Counsel and related the events surrounding my contact with Teng much as I have related them here. I was due to leave for two weeks’ vacation in England the next day. General Counsel thanked me and said they would be in touch as needed while I was away.
   
   The next morning, the story was picked up by various media outlets, both nationally and internationally. The gist of these articles was not overly favorable to the ABA. I went off to England expecting the worst. I received an email from the ABA’s Director of Media Relations that I was not to speak to anyone in the media and to refer all queries from the press directly to her.
   
   The statement that the ABA released in response to these articles and to a call for clarification from Senator Marco Rubio and the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, portrayed me as a rogue editor who had commissioned Teng’s book and moved forward with it without any supervision. My actions were termed “erroneous.” The reason the ABA gave for cancelling Teng’s book was that it wasn’t deemed profitable. In my response email to General Counsel, dated April 28, 2016, I wrote:
   
   "I extended the offer to Mr. Biao and then subsequently rescinded it based on what I believed to be the direction and approval of my manager. I would never - and have never - done either without the explicit approval of my manager at the time. What could I possibly have hoped to gain by going rogue and acting in such a manner without managerial consent? It doesn't make sense.
   
   " [The] statement suggests that I acted completely on my own and twice acted without proper authorization. This is completely untrue and is extremely damaging to my professional reputation, which has always been excellent."
   
   I went on to say:
   
   "While there was certainly a limited discussion regarding the financials of the project - and with NBN via email, correspondence I have shared with you - I maintain the reasons that were communicated to me by my manager at the time for rescinding the offer were due to sensitivities about the ABA's work in China and not because of concern about the book's profitability. These sensitivities were at the heart of the discussion about the proposal at the acquisitions meeting, a meeting that [the Director of Business Services] did not attend. If financials were truly the determining factor, we wouldn't move forward with at least half the books we publish…
   
   "It is all very damaging and very disappointing. The fact that my name hasn't been released to the public is little consolation as most who might read these statements or write about them in the press know or can easily piece together the identity of the editor at the heart of this mess."
   
   In response to which I received an email from General Counsel stating they would be available to speak with me when I was back in the office.
   
   Upon my return, a week later, ABA Publishing’s Director of Business Services, one of those involved in drafting the statement, called me into his office and accused me of stupidity. He informed me that ABA senior management had been clamoring for him to fire me but he wasn’t going to do so because I was simply too valuable to him as an employee. He reminded me: “This organization is bigger than you. You serve the ABA.” And then he proceeded to express how pained he was at the fact I’d re-tweeted an article from the New York Times calling the ABA’s statement into question.

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