Confucius Institutes Threaten Britain’s Ability to Understand China: Report Says

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A Confucius Institute (CI) at a British university is undermining Britain’s understanding of China, a report said Wednesday.

Report (pdf), published by the Henry Jackson Society (HJS), a foreign policy and national security think tank, of the UK’s 30 CIs operating within the ‘language and culture’ mandate often attributed to them. He said that only four were found to be affected.

Most of the agencies are involved in informing government policies and politicians, brokering science and technology partnerships, providing consulting services to companies, and working with British organizations working with the CCP, the United Front Work Service (UFWD). and other activities. [Chinese Communist Party] Its interference activity was recently highlighted by MI5. “

During the Institute’s investigation, authors Sam Dunning and Anson Kwon said they uncovered links between the UFWD and the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda arm, payments to British politicians, and political activities. Establishment of other academic and business networks.

While many British universities have taken the recent reforms to the CI’s administrative structure at face value, calling the new governing body a “non-governmental organization,” the report said the institution was “declared by China’s education ministry.” It is supervised,” he said. , primarily funded by state-owned propaganda firms and integrated into the CCP’s propaganda system. “

No information provided for Xinjiang, Tibet, Taiwan and Hong Kong

The limited scope of CI-sponsored seminars and events also indicates that the program is part of the CCP’s “deliberate attempt to curate Sinology,” the report said. I’m here.

Of the hundreds of lectures and events hosted by the institute, “only a handful” are related to China’s “more than 100 million” ethnic minorities, such as Uyghurs and Tibetans, and their historic territories. Yes, the report said.

“The provision of information on Taiwan, a country requiring very urgent consideration and planning by the UK government, academia and industry, is also essentially non-existent,” it added. “Similarly, even if the Chinese Communist Party’s crackdown in Hong Kong disappoints the UK and calls for a complex government response, nothing has been done to address Hong Kong’s predicament.”

According to the report, a Chinese-language source associated with CI said that CI “helped integrate the Communist Party of China into universities and used this integration to determine how China was understood and what strategies were in place.” It is designed to shape who will be adopted.” In the light of this “understanding”, a person who relies on intellectual output.

China-controlled hiring process may be illegal

Authors Sam Dunning and Anson Kwong also highlighted the CI hiring process. This process is primarily managed by our partner institutions in China.

They said discrimination against protected characteristics such as race, religion and beliefs, in the form of ethnic and political scrutiny, violates UK law and called on the UK Equality Watch Agency to conduct an urgent investigation. It is argued that there may be

The report cites the first closure of a Confucius Institute at Canada’s McMaster University in 2013.

The university closed the Confucius Institute after it refused to remove the discrimination clause following complaints from Falun Gong practitioner Sonia Zhao. [then-government body of CIs] I feared that I would be punished if I admitted that I was a Falun Gong practitioner. “

Epoch Times photo
Sonia Zhao speaks at a rally in Toronto in August 2011 about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. (Gordon Yu/The Epoch Times)

In 1999, Falun Gong, a popular spiritual practice based on the tenets of “honesty, compassion and tolerance,” with at least 70 million followers, according to official estimates, was targeted by the CCP’s elimination campaign. rice field.

Zhao’s mother was serving a two-year prison sentence for following the practice.

The authors called for a law requiring agreements governing educational and academic partnerships with foreign powers, including conditions designed to protect freedom of speech and ensure compliance with equality laws.

Other recommendations include funding to strengthen critical Chinese studies, asking universities affiliated with CCP members within CI to declare membership in person, and establishing new language and Includes the development of cultural programs.

MP: Chinese students need ‘the same freedom’ other students have

At the report’s launch event, Conservative MP Bob Seeley said the recommendation not to include a ban on CI was “incredibly sensible”, but questioned whether it was going “enough”. did.

Mr Seeley said he had not yet decided whether to support the ban, but argued that CI should be discussed because it is incompatible with having freedom and having Chinese students, saying it was “for the UK It’s really important,” he said.

“If Chinese students come here, and if they come here with a purpose, we must ensure that they are free to explore ideas like any other student. “I’m still wary of the Confucius Institute,” he said.

Epoch Times photo
Bob Seeley MP speaks at the British Parliament in Westminster, London on 20th January 2021. (Parliamentlive.tv/screenshot)

Asked whether Britain should scrutinize Chinese students in British universities, Dunning said he thought the idea was “undesirable and unrealistic”.

Another panelist, Stephen Vines, a journalist who has worked in Hong Kong for 35 years, also said it was good for mainland Chinese students to be exposed to different cultures and some degree of freedom.

While acknowledging the risks of having a large number of mainland Chinese students here, Vines said he believes there should be no further restrictions on the presence of Chinese students “as a whole.”

Dunning said there are other Chinese-speaking countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore as alternative Chinese teaching partners for CI.

Bynes said the UK already has resources with a pool of “highly educated” people from Hong Kong who can teach both Cantonese and Mandarin, but the Communist Party-backed Confucius Institute has no system in place. It claimed that it is now excluded because it depends on it.

government reaction

The UK government’s response to the report was also a focus of the event.

He lamented the lack of an intergovernmental strategy against Russia and China and said the government was “always catching up” with potential threats.

The Telegraph’s education editor, Louisa Clarence-Smith, reported on the HJS report before it was published on Saturday, saying, “There appears to be some confusion within the government about what the government’s policy toward China will be.” Stated.

The education ministry initially responded to the report with a statement that “China is a major member of the international community and enjoys strong and constructive relations with China in many areas.”

Epoch Times photo
Prime Minister Liz Truss will deliver her first speech at Downing Street in London on 6 September 2022. (Leon Neal/Getty Images)

It is unclear who approved the statement, but “after speaking with several senior Conservative MPs, including Bob Seeley, they were quite concerned about the tone of the statement,” Smith said. On Sunday night, I actually got a call saying No 10 and rushing in.” [Downing Street] The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to issue another statement with a tougher policy on China,” she said at the event.

of new statement “Prime Minister Liz Truss’s determination to stand up to China is unwavering and the UK government is committed to doing more to accommodate China’s growing influence,” he said.

Lily Zhou

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Lily Zhou is an Ireland-based reporter focusing on UK news. Lily said she attended the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times for the first time before she focused on the UK in 2020.

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