Students at Uni of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus must pledge allegiance to Communist Party

A former staff member claims students were encouraged to spy on teachers

The University of Nottingham’s Ningbo campus in the eastern Chinese province of Zhejiang is facing questions after it was revealed that its students must pledge allegiance to the country’s Communist Party, along with engaging in propaganda studies.

A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary titled Secrets and Power: China in the UK showed images of Chinese students and staff pledging allegiance to the country’s Communist Party as recently as the last year. Students are also obligated to study Xi Jinping Thought, the Chinese leader, Dispatches revealed.

Primarily attended by Chinese students, the university campus became the first institution from Britain to establish a satellite in China in 2004. It describes itself as a university whose “students are encouraged to enrich their international vision”, reports The Times.

However, former associate provost for planning at the campus Stephen Morgan reported censorship of student material, with references to Taiwan being removed and students encouraged to spy on teachers.

The University of Nottingham said: “We do not recognise the descriptions of the University of Nottingham Ningbo China campus. Any UK institution operating overseas… must observe the laws and customs of the host country. The University of Nottingham is committed to supporting and promoting academic freedom and ensures open research and freedom of speech”.

Former head of Nottingham’s School of Contemporary Chinese Studies Steve Tsang said that “it raises the question whether we can continue to say that maintaining a campus in China is in interest of the reputation of the university and for British higher education more generally”.

The School of Contemporary Chinese Studies closed in 2016, which Tsang, who was openly outspoken about the Communist Party, believes was due to pressure from Beijing. He claims that university management asked him not to speak to the media during Xi’s visit to the UK in 2015.

The university said that “the closure of the School of Contemporary Chinese Studies was based on this school no longer being financially sustainable”.

In the documentary, the Chinese Embassy said: “The Chinese government has never interfered and will never interfere in the running of British universities and the claim that the Communist Party of China is posing a threat to the financial future of British universities is completely unfounded”.

Featured image via YouTube

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