Whistleblower claims China controls its students in Scotland

A former Chinese diplomat, who turned whistleblower after defecting to Australia, has alleged that China tries to control its international students studying at Scottish universities through student associations, writes Michael Conway for The National.

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 based at universities in Scotland try to control international students on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.

In reply, however, the Chinese Embassy in London said it would “never exert any political influence on normal academic activities in British universities” and it described Falun Gong as an “anti-humanity cult”. Three Scottish universities also commented and said their links to China were extremely important and that students’ freedom of thought and expression had been protected. Chen’s comments follow a report this month which urged the United Kingdom to “urgently” improve its monitoring of academic links with China. Last month think-tank Civitas warned of closer ties between UK research universities and institutions linked to the Chinese military.
Full report on The National site