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
·中国人权律师节启动 在笑与泪中纪念“709”两周年
·Chinese human rights lawyers remain defiant despite crackdown
·滕彪/夏业良漫谈法律与维权进程
· 萬人簽署08憲章,為什麼唯獨重判劉曉波
·709抓捕兩週年 律師籲持續國際施壓
·挽劉曉波聯
·The Political Meaning of the Crime of “Subverting State Power”
·滕彪/夏业良:公共知识分子和自由主义
·中国民主前路研讨会/RFA
·中国流亡律师滕彪,要做黑暗中的闪电
·Selected Publications/presentations as of 2017/8
·The Costs and Risks of Fighting for Human Dignity and Freedom
·China faces split into seven parts
· A Call for Investigation Into HNA Group’s Activities in the US and L
·王全璋律师竞逐郁金香人权奖:无畏强权 勇气与付出
·〝维稳〞维到联合国?人权观察批中共
·City of Asylum -Interview
·对中共的绥靖政策已致恶果浮现
·China’s top human rights lawyer in exile to speak at Saint Michael’s
·Activist expats raise voices on China rights crackdown
·A Human Rights Lawyer Lifts the Communist Party’s Spell
·Returning to Revolution
·One-man rule? China's Xi Jinping consolidates grip on power
·劉曉波對維權律師的關注
·滕彪:中国自由民权运动与习近平时代
·Kidnap, torture, exile: Dr. Teng Biao shares his story
·維權、佔中與公民抗命
·Arrested, Assaulted and Tortured: Exiled Human Rights Lawyer Details P
·滕彪律师评论郭文贵事件的意义
·Coercive Family Planning in Linyi
·Chinese lawyers hailed as “heroes for justice”
·THE PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF THE DISAPPEARED
·《失踪人民共和国》
·EXEMPLARY FIGURES REPORTED BY GARIWO
·在劫难逃
·李明哲案 滕彪:陸意圖影響台灣政治籌碼
·人权律师解密北京的"水晶之夜"
·李明哲案:臺灣退無可退
·作为人类精神事件的刘晓波之死
·北京驱逐"低端"人口的制度根源
·Atrocity in the Name of the Law
·学者解析中共执政密码
·暴行,以法律的名义
·人道中国十周年纪录短片
·“中华维权律师协会”评出十佳维权律师
·中国妇权成立十周年纪念
·武统狂言背后的恐懼
·以法律名義被消失,中華失踪人民共和國
·川普公布首批人权恶棍 滕彪:震慑中共
·「蚂蚁金服」在美并购遭拒 中国官媒指不排除反制措施
·CCP is taking China towards more and more Owellian state
·中国公民社会前景:乐观还是堪忧?
·中共渗透遭美欧澳等国谴责 专家析世界格局
·Laogai, le goulag chinois
·不反思計劃生育 中國就沒有未來
·中国:溃败与希望
·Conversation on China’s human right
·Draconic Restrictions on Uyghur Cultural And Religious Freedoms
·寧添十座墳,不添一個人
· the only way seems to become more dictatorial and oppressiv
·不管藍營綠營,面對的都是「集中營
·惠台政策还是经济统战?
·专访:用李明哲案件恐吓整个台湾
·習近平進一步向毛澤
·中共專制政權威脅全世界
·新戊戌变法的变与不变
·【Documentary】China: Spies, Lies and Blackmail
·No escape: The fearful life of China's exiled dissidents
·中国异议人士逃抵西方仍难脱离中共监控威胁
·The State of Human Rights Lawyers in China
·权益组织:电视认罪—一场中国官方导演的大戏
·温良学者 正义卫士(一)
·Has Xi Jinping Changed China? Not Really
·訪滕彪律師談中共政權對於全世界民主自由人權發展的負面影響
·中共绑架中国
·美国务院发布人权报告 点名批评中国等八国
·滕彪,温良学者 正义卫士(二)——发出不同的声音
·鸿茅药酒:中共制度之毒
·on televised confessions
·滕彪,温良学者 正义卫士(三)——挑战恶法 虽败犹荣
·温良学者 正义卫士(四)——铁骨也柔情
·温良学者 正义卫士(五)——黑暗中的闪电
·美两党议员推法案 要求调查中共渗透/NTD
·Video【Teng Biao: From 1989 to 1984】
·第二届藏港台圆桌会 中国律师表态支持自决权
·自由民主與自決權:第二屆藏港台圓桌會議
·Exiled in the U.S., a Lawyer Warns of ‘China’s Long Arm’
·端传媒滕彪专访:一个曾经的依法维权者,怎么看今日中国?
·VOA:川金会上 人权问题真的被忽略了吗?
·“中国的长臂”:滕彪审视西方机构对华自我审查
·中国长臂迫使西方机构公司自我审查/RFA
·美退出人权理事会 滕彪呼吁应将人权与经贸利益挂钩
·“中国政治转变的可能前景”研讨会纪要
·滕彪:川普退出人权理事会是为人权?西藏、新疆民族自决
· The Second China human rights lawyers day
·第二届“中国人权律师节”将于7月8日在纽约举行
·【video】A message from a Chinese human rights lawyer
·【RFA中国热评】美中贸易战、 “七五”、“709案”
·回顾709案:中国迫害律师的第三波高潮
·中国人权律师节力赞人权律师的意义
·高智晟、王全璋获颁首届中国人权律师奖
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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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