Yu Ying-shih, historian who irked Beijing, dies at 91

HONG KONG (AP) — Yu Ying-shih, a historian of China who taught at Harvard, Princeton and Yale Universities and whose books were banned by the ruling Communist Party in 2014 after he expressed support for pro-democracy activism, has died. He was 91.

Yu died Aug. 1 in the United States, according to an announcement by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he taught and was vice chancellor in the 1970s. It gave no cause of death.

Yu “made lasting contributions to the study of Chinese history and culture,” the university’s acting vice chancellor, Alan K.L. Chan, said in a statement.

Yu was born in Tianjin, east of Beijing, in 1930 and graduated in 1952 from Hong Kong’s New Asia College, which later became part of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He received a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1962.

Yu also taught at the University of Michigan and was a member of Academia Sinica, Taiwan’s national academy of humanities and sciences. His books included “Trade and Expansion in Han China” in 1967.

In 2014, bookstores and publishers in China said authorities ordered Yu’s books removed from sale after he expressed support for pro-democracy movements in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Others hit by the ban included economist Mao Yushi and constitutional law professor Zhang Qianfan.

“If you keep following the orders (by the Communist Party), don’t you become 100% slaves eventually?” Yu said in a 2014 interview with the Taiwanese financial magazine CommonWealth.

The Chinese University of Hong Kong gave no details of survivors or funeral plans.

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