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CFHK Foundation Details Chinese Influence in Scottish Education


This week, the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong (CFHK) Foundation organised a panel discussion about Chinese influence on the British education system in the Scottish Parliament. The panel discussion, hosted by Jeremy Balfour MSP, highlighted key findings from the report "Strategic Dependency of UK Universities on China - and where should they turn next?", authored by Robert Clark.

Robert kicked off the panel discussion detailing the particular risk that Scottish universities face regarding their large proportions of funding from the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA). Dr. Sarah Liu highlighted that placating to authoritarian regimes undermines academic freedom and puts educators at risk if they choose to teach on sensitive topics.

Our colleague, Alyssa Fong, from Hong Kong herself, detailed her experiences as both a student and staff member at Edinburgh University, facing harassment from members of the CCP on campus, and focused on the risk to the Scottish economy when relying on a single funding source.

Jimmy Lai's Trial Update

The trial of Jimmy Lai continued May 6th. The prosecution witnesses Wayland Chan Tsz-wah and Royston Chow Tat-kuen, COO and former CFO of Next Digital, testified.

Royston Chow Tat-kuen revealed he was responsible for managing Lai's private company finances and approving expenses on his behalf. Hence, he was doing his job.

Wayland Chan Tsz-wah described Lai as a voice of reason who thought that “misuse of violence could…cause the movement to lose its moral high ground in opposing the Hong Kong government and also lose international support.” According to Chan, Lai called on leaders of pro-democracy groups not to take destructive actions during the 2019 protests against the unpopular extradition law Beijing imposed on the city. 

If the Hong Kong authorities hope to convict Jimmy Lai on the testimony of witnesses who only highlight his restraint, then the prosecution’s case is truly in trouble. This may be a show trial, but it surely isn’t showing what the authorities anticipated.

Detailed trial updates available here: Support Jimmy Lai

Hong Kong

A Hong Kong appeals court sided with the government to ban protest song “Glory to Hong Kong” and ruled it to be a “weapon” that “endangers national security.” Three Court of Appeal judges deemed the injunction necessary to compel online platforms to remove what they considered "problematic videos" featuring the song.

In response, the U.S. Consul General Gregory May questioned, “Hong Kong authorities have stepped onto that slippery slope of trying to censor some content on the internet and it begs the question — where is this going to end?”

The Hong Kong Judiciary announced that the verdict for Hong Kong’s largest national security case, involving 47 democrats charged with conspiring to commit subversion, was scheduled for May 30 and 31. The expected judgement is expected after most of the defendants have endured more than 1000 days in custody. To date, the government has a 100 percent conviction rate in national security law cases.

U.S. - Hong Kong

The U.S. Consul-General in Hong Kong, Gregory May, called on the authorities to release media tycoon Jimmy Lai and other detained political prisoners, while also calling for the cancellation of arrest bounties for exiled activists. May's comments have been “strongly opposed and condemned” by Beijing's foreign ministry, which accused him of interference in China's internal affairs.

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