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New report uncovers explosive levels of Chinese investments in U.K. universities

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Civitas hosted a report launch in collaboration with the Committee for Freedom in Hong Kong Foundation (CFHK Foundation) in the British Parliament. The report, titled, 'The Strategic Dependence of UK Universities on China – and where should they turn next?', reveals that up to one-third of Chinese funding in U.K. universities originates from sources with links to the Chinese military or companies banned by the United States. The Telegraph, The Times, Daily Mail, The Scotsman and ten other media outlets covered the report, focusing on universities including the University of Oxford, University of Cambridge and Imperial College London where Huawei and its subsidiaries, which is banned by the British government, have invested £13 million.

The CFHK Foundation, Henry Jackson Society and Tom Randall MP hosted a panel discussion in the British Parliament, titled, ‘De-risking British universities’ over-reliance on China’. The panellists considered the national security challenges posed by the Chinese Communist Party's concerted efforts to expand its overseas intelligence gathering and exert foreign policy influence on British university campuses.

The Chairman of the CFHK Foundation, Ambassador James Cunningham, met with several British Lords, Members of Parliament and journalists to discuss the case of British citizen Jimmy Lai and Chinese interference in Britain. He emphasised the urgency of addressing transnational repression against Hong Kongers in Britain.

Sebastien Lai, son of Jimmy Lai, accepted the Magnitsky Human Rights Award for ‘Outstanding Journalist’ on behalf of his father, who has been behind bars for more than 1,000 days in Hong Kong. Jimmy Lai’s lead international lawyer, Caoilfhionn Gallagher KC, told The Times, “Unless more robust action is taken by the UK government to protect him, we may well see a British citizen die behind bars in Hong Kong, for fighting for democracy, which would be unconscionable.”

Hong Kong

The Hong Kong authorities rejected a petition from Catholic leaders around the world who pressed for the immediate and unconditional release of Jimmy Lai. The petition reads, “There is no place for such cruelty and oppression in a territory that claims to uphold the rule of law and respect the right to freedom of expression.”

The University of Hong Kong abruptly cancelled an expected lecture from British barrister Timothy Owen KC, who has been barred from representing Jimmy Lai, on ‘the growing threats to judicial independence and the rule of law’.

The Hong Kong government declined two 2024 Lunar New Year Fair stall bids from members of the Democratic Party in Hong Kong. This decision was based on a new provision that grants Hong Kong officials the authority to ‘reserve the absolute right’ to reject bids ‘without cause’.

US-China Relations

President Joe Biden and Xi Jinping met in San Francisco on Wednesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit. The leaders discussed curbing Chinese fentanyl production and enhancing military-to-military communications.

The main U.S. federal government pension fund decided to exclude China- and Hong Kong-listed stocks from its international fund due to rising tensions between the U.S. and Chinese economies.

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