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China Controls International Students In Scottish Universities Through Student Associations, Former Diplomat Claims

March 31st, 2021 13:54

Scot­tish media is report­ing that accord­ing to a for­mer Chi­nese diplo­mat, Chi­na tries to con­trol its inter­na­tion­al stu­dents study­ing at Scot­tish uni­ver­si­ties through stu­dent asso­ci­a­tions,  Accord­ing to an arti­cle in The National:

March 28, 2021 Chen Yonglin was first sec­re­tary at the Chi­nese Con­sulate in Syd­ney before he defect­ed to Aus­tralia in 2005. He became a whistle­blow­er about the per­se­cu­tion of Falun Gong in Chi­na, reveal­ing its con­sulate in Syd­ney had an “anti-Falun Gong work­ing group”, ded­i­cat­ed to mon­i­tor­ing and coun­ter­ing Falun Gong prac­ti­tion­ers and sup­port­ers in Australia.In an exclu­sive inter­view with The Fer­ret, Chen claimed that Chi­nese Stu­dents and Schol­ars Asso­ci­a­tions (CSSA) based at uni­ver­si­ties in Scot­land try to con­trol inter­na­tion­al stu­dents on behalf of the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty (CCP) which rules China. […]

Chen, who now works as a researcher for the Syd­ney Net­work for Democ­ra­cy, told The Fer­ret that con­sulates seek to mon­i­tor Chi­nese stu­dents who study abroad through the CSSA.  He said: “Every uni­ver­si­ty has a CSSA. They were installed by the Chi­nese con­sulates and embassies. And they want to con­trol stu­dents, they want to give them some favour, some small favour, and ask them to reg­is­ter. And the stu­dent asso­ci­a­tions act know­ing they have con­sulate protection.

Read the rest here.

Accord­ing to its web­site, the Chi­nese Stu­dents and Schol­ars Asso­ci­a­tions was estab­lished in 1988 and has over 150,000 reg­is­tered mem­bers and 100 sub­sidiary asso­ci­a­tions through­out the UK. The Nation arti­cle notes that the CSSA reg­u­lar­ly col­lab­o­rates with Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes in the UK. Con­fu­cian Insti­tutes are pub­lic edu­ca­tion­al part­ner­ships between col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in Chi­na and col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in oth­er coun­tries that have been crit­i­cized as a soft pow­er tool for Chi­na to spread pro­pa­gan­da under the guise of teaching.

Past Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions (GIOR) cov­er­age of Chi­nese influ­ence oper­a­tions in the UK has included:

  • In March, we report­ed that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment is fund­ing British YouTu­bers to fur­ther its pro­pa­gan­da war.
  • In March, we report­ed that the UK had revoked the TV license for Chi­na Glob­al Tele­vi­sion Net­work (CGTN), con­clud­ing that it is a pro­pa­gan­da chan­nel ulti­mate­ly con­trolled by the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Party.
  • In Feb­ru­ary, we report­ed that the “EU-Chi­na Friend­ship Group” was sus­pend­ed fol­low­ing a deci­sion by the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment that the group was too close to the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment. The group was for­mer­ly chaired by for­mer UK MP Nirj Deva.
  • In Jan­u­ary, we report­ed that a leaked data­base of reg­is­tered Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty mem­bers indi­cates that par­ty mem­bers are cur­rent­ly employed in British con­sulates, uni­ver­si­ties, and for some of the UK’s lead­ing companies.