Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Chinese Spies in UK academia - fact or fiction?

A throughly interesting story about China using visiting academics and students as spies.

The University of Birmingham is a well respected University at the heart of England.

The IPE Zone blog post gets into the James Bond stuff and is worth a read.

The questions are:

1. If it is true are we really suprised?
2. If it is true do we really care?

H/T: IPE Zone.

Former Chinese Student Organization President in U.K. Reveals Consulate Control [Epoch Times]

Chinese Student and Scholar Associations (CSSA) worldwide claim to be neutral non-for-profit organizations dedicated to helping Chinese students overseas. But a close look at their websites reveal strong links to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Dr Wei Liu decided to speak openly about his experience as the CSSA Chairman from 1998 to 1999 in Manchester and what he learned about the CCP's control over CSSAs. Dr Wei Liu currently works as a research fellow in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Birmingham University in England.

NTDTV: "So do they do this out in the open, or is it kind of an unspoken secret that the Chinese Communist Party runs these organizations?"

Dr. Liu: "It's a secret because only a few key members of the Association know this fact. The majority of the students and scholars, they don't know."

NTDTV: "Can you tell me where this direction is coming from? Is it coming from Beijing?"

Dr. Liu: "Yes, the Chinese Consulate or Embassy...they carry out the political agenda and policies from the Chinese Communist Party".

NTDTV: "So what sort of damage do you think this sort of spying does to Western society and universities? Do you think it's dangerous for the students?"

Dr. Liu: "I don't think most of them would like to do this, but it seems they are only fooled by the Chinese Consulate."

NTDTV: "So this has actually been going on for years? Has it being going on for a long period of time?"

Dr. Liu: "Yes. Until now the CSSA still does the same as they did 10 years ago".

We also meet up with Dr Gui Hua Li who was a part of the CSSA organization until her email got cut from the mailing list after sending information about China's live organ harvesting trade. At that point she began to wonder.

NTDTV: "So, Dr Li can you tell me a bit about you're experience of being a part of the CSSA organization?"

Guihua Li, Former Cambridge CSSA Member: "The CSSA is supposed to be loosely coordinated, but really it's tightly controlled. Some of the students haven't got a clear sense of what is right and what is wrong. They just feel...well, we will just do what the Chinese Communist Party asks us to do. Yeah, they just do it, because they get used to that kind of control. They don't realize the Party has no right to control them. They live outside in another country but they feel ... oh, the Party is still looking after them."

NTDTV: "Do you think they get incentives or do they benefit financially?"

Guihua Li: "Oh, everybody knows, of course they do, and the Chinese Embassy always gives money to the CSSA from the very beginning."

But what will students, parents and professors do when they discover that the Chinese Communist party has long infiltrated their university campuses? The MI5 or the FBI are looking deeper into this issue.

Interestingly, Epoch Times have also issued a correction to their original article:

On Oct. 16 The Epoch Times published on its Web site an article from New Tang Dynasty TV titled "Chinese CSSA Spy Ring Exposed in the U.K." The title of this article gave a misleading impression of the article's contents, which discussed evidence that the Chinese Communist Party controls Chinese Student and Scholar Associations, not evidence for a particular spy ring.

In addition, the article incorrectly asserted that Dr. Wei Liu had been a spy for China, which is not true. And the article also incorrectly identified Dr. Liu as a Professor at the University of Birmingham. In fact, he is a research fellow at the University of Birmingham. The Epoch Times regrets the errors.


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