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School of Politics and International Relations

Chinese students 'unfairly demonised'

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The UK's Foreign Affairs Committee claimed in a report last week that it had heard ‘alarming evidence’ about the extent of China's influence on UK campuses. Academics and university leaders have highlighted the lack of evidence to support its call for action to curb the threat posed by China. Queen Mary’s Reader in Politics, Dr Lee Jones said: “China is certainly no friend of academic freedom: domestically, the regime has clamped down on critical scholars and even detained Marxist students at Peking University. But there's a general tendency to blame foreign powers for home-grown problems - first, Russian bots are to blame for Brexit; now China is threatening academic freedom in our universities. What really threatens academic freedom is neoliberal governance and empire-building managers, which push institutions to expand into authoritarian states, or become reliant on their students or donations.”
PDF available on request: Times Higher Education