RUG ends cooperation with Chinese chair

Lees in het Nederlands

The University of Groningen will no longer have its chair in Chinese language and culture funded by Hanban, headquarters of the Chinese Confucius Institutes. This is what Minister Van Engelshoven wrote in response to questions in Parliament. The fuss arose last month after the NOS reported on a Groningen professor of Chinese language and culture who, according to his contract, is not allowed to damage China's image. His chair is partly funded by the Hanban umbrella organisation, which is part of the Chinese Ministry of Education.

The political parties VVD and CDA submitted a list of critical questions to outgoing Minister Van Engelshoven. How can such a contractual ban on a professor be reconciled with scientific integrity and academic freedom, they asked. Van Engelshoven acknowledged that such a provision could lead to extra pressure and (self)censorship, and she called this undesirable. In a conversation with the ministry, the RUG has let it be known that it does not wish to extend the collaboration with Hanban, which started in 2016 for a period of five years. As a result, the agreement with regard to the chair will lapse. (HOP, Evelien Flink)