By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Sept. 20: Chinese government funded scholars are not permitted to join an American university that hosted the Beijing-labeled “splitist” exiled Tibetan leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama a few months ago, sources say.
China Scholarship Council, a branch of China’s Ministry of Education has reportedly barred Chinese scholars from receiving state funding to study at the University of California, San Diego. Faculty member Professor Victor Shih tweeted that his fellow faculty member received notice that the China Scholarship Council would no longer process applications to study at UCSD hence forth. He wrote that the developments may be due to the visit by the Dalai Lama.
In June, despite protest from the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), the Tibetan leader spoke at the graduation ceremony for the 2016-2017 academic year to a rousing welcome by an audience of 25,000 including around 6,000 graduating students at the university’s RIMAC Field. The Chinese student body argued that hosting the 82 year old Tibetan leader goes against political correctness and sentiments of Chinese students studying at the university that account for more than half of the international student count.
UCSD told Quartz, “UC San Diego has learned, unofficially, that the China Scholarship Council under the PRC Ministry of Education has apparently issued instructions that CSC-funded visiting scholars who do not yet have visas will not be allowed to study at UC San Diego. UC San Diego was not notified of this directly by the China Scholarship Council, and we are presently making inquiries to determine if this is the case.”
Last week, Tibetan Member of Parliament and Campaigns Manager at Australia Tibet Council, Kyinzom Dhongdue, in her report said that Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes which are in many universities around the globe, are a classic example of China’s soft power offensive and that Chinese student bodies in those universities are creating an “environment for self censorship” and exerting pressure in silencing anti-China narratives within her constituency Australia and around the world.
According to Hanban, an agency of China’s Ministry of Education which operates the Confucius Institutes, there are 500 of these institutes at universities around the world. Hanban also operates 568 Confucius Classrooms in schools worldwide. Li Changchun, China’s top official in charge of propaganda from 2002 to 2012, called the Confucius Institutes “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up,” the report by Tibetan MP highlighted.