The United Kingdom University Alliance (UUK), an institution representing British universities, plans to introduce the first “safety guide” to all British universities to guide universities how to protect their students, faculty and staff, and prevent academic research in the UK from being interfered by foreign forces. Although the guide does not mention specific countries, many British media interpreted it as “preventing the penetration of China’s influence on British universities”.
The British “Sunday Times” reported on the 27th that this is the first comprehensive safety guide for British universities and will be applied to all departments of British universities this fall. This guide aims to maintain academic freedom, institutional autonomy, and the values of British universities; it will address cybersecurity and personal safety issues that appear on British university campuses, as well as the issue of British universities receiving financial assistance from overseas governments and overseas entities.
Stern, head of UUK’s international affairs department, said the guide was not launched for a specific country. However, some British media believe that the promulgation of this security guide is related to the recent comments of some “Chinese skeptics” in British politics. The British “Daily Mail” said on the 27th that Tugendhat, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons of the British Parliament and a member of the Conservative Party, called for British universities to get rid of the “threat from Beijing, the threat to students and research funding”, to avoid college life The impact, “The reality we are seeing now is that the academic freedom of the United Kingdom has been eroded.” In November last year, a committee led by Tugendhat issued a report saying that there is significant evidence that the British high correction has been infiltrated by foreign forces. But universities do not have the ability to obtain protection.
Some British lawmakers have previously pointed out that there are too many Chinese students in British universities, and universities are too dependent on Chinese students. The Sunday Times stated that British universities charge tuition fees of over 2 billion pounds from Chinese students every year, which is equivalent to 5% of the total industry income of British universities. The British government estimates that the number of international students studying in the UK will reach 485,000 to 600,000 by 2030. Due to the vicious relationship between the US and Australia and China, many Chinese students who originally planned to study in the US and Australia may turn to study in the UK.
The report said that the British government is also putting pressure on UUK to “accelerate the adoption of measures to deal with the penetration of foreign forces into colleges and universities”. In May, the British Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned that British universities face a situation of relying on a single source of educational funds, and called for expanding the scope of international enrollment and achieving sustainable development.
“Sunday Times” analysis believes that the development of British universities is still successful, and universities are still highly academic autonomy. The current controversial issue actually shows that the trend of Sino-British diplomacy is changing. The report said that many universities and principals in the UK welcomed this safety guide, but at the same time hoped that this can resolve disputes and continue to strengthen the external cooperation of universities.