Published: 21st January 2023
Tens and thousands of Chinese students on scholarships backed by gov't signed contracts pledge loyalty to the ruling Communist party
A review of publicly available documents found evidence that this practice has been going on quietly for more than a decade, with several versions of the contract and related regulations available
Sweden's Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported on January 13, 2022, that about 30 doctoral students who are arriving in the country have signed contracts pledging loyalty to their government. The contract also required them to serve China's interests during their stay. Publicly available documents were reviewed and evidence was found that this practice of pledging loyalty to China has been going on for more than a decade with several versions of the contract freely available online, reported RFA.
The contract states, "During your time studying abroad, you must hone your sense of responsibility and your ability to follow orders, and not engage in any activities that could harm your country's interests or national security...You must consciously protect the honour of the motherland and your school, and abide by both the laws of China and the country where you are studying."
RFA also reported the students must also provide the names of two people who are guarantors and should countersign the document in case the student fails to report to the local Chinese embassy or breaks the terms of the agreement. Anyone who tries to resign from their scholarship without proper authorisation or just disappears or moves to another country or school without authorisation will trigger repayment of around one-third of the funding by the guarantors who countersigned for them stated the IANS report.
China had said it would send 27,000 students to study overseas on public money for all of 2021, and that their scholarships were entirely conditional on their party loyalty, including a pledge to "come back and serve their country" on completion of their studies, according to another publicly available document, RFA reported.