We wish to applaud the University of Groningen for its January 29 announcement to cancel plans to open up a campus in China Although their statement is unclear on reason for this decision, the issue of Chinese government control and manipulation within academic institutions is a matter of increasing concern. Such a factor may well have been the trigger to reverse their intended collaboration.
In November 2017 the Chinese regime declared that “all foreign-funded universities should have a Communist Party official sit on the board. The president of the University of Groningen’s board, Sibrand Poppema, said then that the inclusion of a party official on UGY’s board “does nothing to alter” academic freedom and independence and that the Party representative would have no ability to control academic content. Nonetheless, Poppema said that the university must “continue to ensure that self-censorship does not become an issue.” (Source)
It is greatly encouraging to note the decision of this University and all respect to them for taking a stand against the corrosive influence of China’s regime.