Chinese students had to sign “pledges of allegiance” to the CCP before going to Sweden, report reveals

Chinese students had to sign “pledges of allegiance” to the CCP before going to Sweden, report reveals

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Several Swedish universities reportedly discovered that more than two dozen PhD students from China were forced to sign an agreement pledging their loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before arriving in Sweden.

The Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter published a report on the received documents last week.

The news agency said over 30 students had signed letters before traveling to Sweden through China’s Ministry of Education’s Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), which supports international academic exchanges with other universities around the world.

In addition to loyalty to the Chinese government, the students promise must too “Serve the interests of the regime” and “never participate in ‘activities’ that go against the will of the authorities,” said Dagens Nyheter.

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The news agency claimed that the students’ families could also be involved in the deal, saying their families living in China could face “financial debt” if the students violate the contents of the documents or their education is “interrupted”. the state”.

In addition, family members are to sign a contract making them liable in the event that their relatives studying in Sweden do not complete their education.

A line in the document also states that a student’s “guarantor,” who is usually a close relative, is not allowed to leave China for any length of time while the student is studying abroad.

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“This is exactly how dictatorships work, that the family is held hostage in the home country. It’s uncomfortable,” David Gisselsson Nord, Vice Dean for Internationalization at Lund University School of Medicine, told Dagens Nyheter.

The story goes on

The issue was reportedly first brought to light after a Chinese student at Lund University was advised not to continue his studies because of his poor academic performance.

“The student then became concerned and said the decision would mean big trouble for his family in China,” Nord said. “We were surprised because we had never heard of such a contract.”

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After the incident, Lund University asked another student at the school for his documents and found that they had the same letters from the Chinese government with them.

Reports of the letters began to spread, and other Swedish universities began checking their students’ documents soon after. Some of the universities mentioned in the report are the Karolinska Institute, Uppsala University and the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

“There are uncertainties, for example what is meant when you go against the interests of the Chinese state,” said Bob Harris, vice chancellor for research studies at the Karolinska Institute, one of Sweden’s top universities, which regularly educates over 30 Chinese students through the CSC picks up .

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“We have decided to stop accepting research students through CSC for the time being,” he explained.

Uppsala and Lund Universities said they will end any future collaboration with the CSC following the discovery of the documents.

Meanwhile, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm is reportedly still accepting applications from Chinese students through the CSC.

In a statement, Stefan Östlund, the vice-rector for international relations at the Royal Institute of Technology, said they had found “no evidence” within their university that pointed to the existence of the letters.

“We are in talks with Karolinska and CSC about these letters, but in all the years we have had CSC students, we have never heard or received any signals that students have been harmed as a result of these letters,” Östlund told Dagens Nyheter.

While Östlund admitted he couldn’t be “100% sure,” he said Chinese-speaking university staff “never caught any signals” about the issue.

Östlund believes the line about students acting in the interest of the state means they “should behave and do well when they are abroad” as other scholarship programs issue similar letters. He added that “all countries” just want their students studying abroad to represent them properly.

The Royal Institute of Technology has reportedly taken note of the latest report and has already started a discussion with the CSC.

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