The Dutch Minister of Education has pointed out that students from Hong Kong could feel unsafe if a Chinese state-run institution were embedded in their university
The RUG must operate more independently of the Confucius Institute, says the Dutch Education Minister: Ingrid van Engelshoven, and must stop the ’embedding’ of the Confucius Institute Groningen in its education. The stark recommendation has been made following a parliamentary question from the CDA Tweede Kamer member René Peters. As reported by OOGTV.
Minister Van Engelshoven also said that it is conceivable that Hong Kong students at the RUG would feel unsafe due to the presence of the Confucius Institute in Groningen. “I therefore think it is sensible for the institutions involved to reconsider this embedding”, she says.
The Confucius Institute programme has been run since 2004 by Hanban (short for ‘Office of the Chinese Language Council International), an organisation that is supervised by the Chinese Ministry of Education. Hanban has been running Chinese language and cultural courses abroad since 1987. Former Hanban Director-General Xu Lin has in the past been accused (with evidence) of removing items about Taiwan from conferences and teaching materials used by the organisation.
Though de facto a separate country, Taiwan is considered by the Chinese government in Beijing as part of China as a whole. With Hong Kong seemingly following a similar enforced binding with the mainland, it is thought that the Confucius Institute might refuse to acknowledge its (‘protected’) status as being a devolved nation.
The minister also reports that an assessment framework will be introduced for educational institutions in 2023. This will give the University of Groningen tools to assess cooperation with foreign institutions.
That is something that University of Groningen president Jouke de Vries asked for at the beginning of this year.
With her statement, the Minister Van Engelshoven says that, among other things, the protest petition that was presented to the UG president at the beginning of this year by some students from Hong Kong and University Council party De Vrije Student, in which the university was called upon to terminate its collaboration with the Confucius Institute.