Cora Van Engelshoven evidently can’t find any other issues in Dutch higher education
The outgoing Dutch Minister of Education, Cora Van Engelshoven, has requested a meeting with the University of Groningen (RUG) as soon as possible: not to talk about the lack of quality of online education, or to talk about how students have suffered during the Coronavirus crisis, but to outline her concerns about possible influence by China on education.
A contract shows to the NOS shows that a Groningen professor is partly paid by an organisation associated with the Chinese government, the Confucius Institute.
The professor is contractually prohibited from “damaging China’s image”. The contract indicates that the Chinese partner can unilaterally cancel the appointment of the professor if his teaching and research activities “seriously violate Chinese law or seriously damage China’s image”. Whether and when that happens is determined by the Hanban organisation, that looks after the Confucius Institute scheme. This is the Chinese umbrella organization of all Confucius Institutes worldwide.
Outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven is seriously concerned and wants to meet with the University of Groningen as soon as possible. “Every university has a legal duty to guarantee academic freedom. It is not allowed to haggle with it. And I want to keep them to that.”