Communist China reportedly has the final say on the recruitment of staff who run and operate Confucius Institutes on British universities, with prospective candidates’ political beliefs and backgrounds being subject to the scrutiny of Bejing.
Although many Western nations have banned Confucius Institutes (CI) from their campuses, the CCP propaganda outlets has been left free to operate with apparently little scrutiny in Britain.
While they claim to be non-political outposts intended to promote Chinese culture and language, a report from The Telegraph has claimed that all CI members of staff are subject to scrutiny from the communist government in China, and are expected to abide by Chinese law while on British soil.
According to the British broadsheet, the staff at Confucius Institutes in Britain are initially recruited in China under the direction of the Centre for Language Education and Cooperation, a subsidiary of the Communist regime’s ministry of education.
The political affiliation requirement means that staff on 30 universities in the United Kingdom are not allowed to question the party narrative on issues such as Hong Kong — a former British colony still theoretically under the jurisdiction of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, which promised the city independence from Beijing rule until 2044 — as well as hot topic issues, such as the mass internment of the Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities — including Christians — in concentration camps in the Western Xinjiang region of China, called East Turkestan by many of the historical inhabitants of the region.
Former Chinese leader Hu Jintao has admitted that the ultimate goal of Confucius Institutes is “to cultivate and prepare a group (or army) of people to make sure the CCP will be in power in the future… and increase our CCP influence around the world.”
Research conducted by the Henry Jackson Society think tank found that Confucius Institute job postings in China for roles at British universities require applicants to reveal their “political profile/characteristics” as well as their “ethnicity” — an interesting condition given China’s consistent highlighting of alleged American racism while itself being a virtual ethnostate comprised of over 90 per cent Han Chinese.
The think tank found that out of the 200 staff positions at Confucius Institutes throughout Britain, only two were not ethnically Han Chinese.
Commenting on the revelations, former leader of the Conservative Party and Cabinet minister Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “Confucius Institutes are there to spy on Chinese students particularly. However, they are also there to bully the university hierarchy into ensuring that no critical debates on China take place at British universities.”
British-based Hong Kong researcher Anson Kwong added: “By replicating China’s legal regime which restricts speech, Confucius Institutes have in fact successfully imported a regime of censorship onto British campuses.
“And our universities are indeed participating in the Communist Party’s systematic oppression of ethnic minorities and political dissidents. All this undermines our scholarship by corrupting our knowledge of China, so that we only get the official version of Chinese culture, society and history.”
In addition to concerns over the influence on discourse China deploys through Confucius Institutes in Britain, over the past year there have been indications that the United Kingdom’s security services are investigating potential weapons technology theft occurring at prestigious British universities.
The MI6 foreign intelligence service — a rough equivalent to the American CIA — has reportedly launched investigations into “some of the most prestigious universities in the country” for potentially violating national security laws by working with Chinese weapons makers, including on the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Dozens of British universities, including the esteemed Cambridge University, have also been accused of working in tandem with the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics (CAEP), the chief nuclear weapons developer for the Chinese government.
A potential explanation for the willingness of British academics to tie themselves with one of the most murderous regimes in human history is the exorbitant amount of money spent by Chinese nationals on tuition in British universities. Indeed, a government investigation last year claimed to have “established a correlation” between the reliance on tuition from Chinese students and technology transfers to Beijing.
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