According to NOS News, Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit (Free University) will stop receiving a subsidy from China for its Cross-Cultural Human Rights Center (CCHRC).

The CCHRC was established with a “global vision on human rights.” It has been provided between $280,000 to around $340,000 from the Southwest University of Political Science and Law in Chongqing, China, from 2018 to 2020. 

This university, among many others, is tightly controlled by the Chinese regime, which is notoriously opposed to academic freedom. 

As a result, the CCHRC has demonstrated a viewpoint nearly the same as Beijing’s. 

For example, several center employees have refused to recognize the Chinese government’s crackdown on the Uyghurs, regardless of the evidence showing that the Uyghurs are one of the primary victims of Beijing’s crackdown campaign.

Free University authorities announced that they would return some, possibly even the whole fund’s amount. 

The Dutch education minister Robbert Dijkgraaf said he was “shocked” by the revelations.

He urged Dutch knowledge institutions to “be alert to unwanted influence from other countries.”

Furthermore, he called on the institution to take quick actions and adequate measures to safeguard academic core values, especially when it concerns universal values ​​such as human rights. 

Human Rights Watch (HRW), a New York-based NGO that researches and promotes human rights, has spent a decade detailing the Beijing regime’s risks to worldwide academic freedom.

The group has found Beijing threats at universities from Australia to the United States.

The New York-based NGO has advised universities to regularly uncover all direct and indirect Chinese government funding and annually list all projects and exchanges with Chinese regime counterparts. 

As for the Free University’s case, Human Rights Watch urged the university to evaluate whether its students and scholars from China faced any persecution or monitoring by the Chinese regime. Such cases have been well documented in Australia, Canada, the UK, and the U.S. 

Furthermore, the human rights organization also advised the university to join with European counterparts, from Berlin to Cambridge to Budapest, to oppose Beijing’s efforts to limit academic freedom.

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