Chinese students were required to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) before entering Sweden on a Chinese regime-sponsored program, a Swedish media revealed.
Dagens Nyheter (DN), a Swedish newspaper, reported on Jan. 12 that Chinese Ph.D. students admitted to Sweden via the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC), are obliged to sign secret agreements and rules.
These agreements require the grant receivers to pledge loyalty to the CCP and “serve the interests of the regime,” and never participate in “activities” that are against the will of the Chinese authorities.
A breach of the agreement would result in family members in China being in financial debt to the state, DN reported.
The Swedish Minister Mats Persson reacted strongly to DN’s revelation about China’s secret agreement with research students in Sweden.
“I take this very seriously, and we are prepared to take more measures,” Persson said. He added that before Christmas, the government had tasked Swedish universities to do more to prevent, among other things, espionage, reported the DN.
The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Lund University, and Uppsala University are among the Swedish universities that have received Chinese students from CSC.
David Gisselsson Nord, vice dean for internationalization at Lund University’s medical department, said, “what really worried me was that there is also a wording that the student’s guarantor, who is usually a close relative, cannot leave the country for an extended period as long as the student is staying abroad.
“This is exactly how dictatorships work, that the family is held hostage in the home country. It is unpleasant,” Nord told DN.
For this reason, some Swedish universities have now chosen to completely stop cooperation with the CSC.
Grant Recipient’s Tasks
CSC, established in 1996, under the regime’s Ministry of Education, promotes international exchange programs with multiple universities in the world, including in the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Russia.
Each year, the CSC sponsored tens of thousands of Chinese researchers and students going abroad pursuing academic training.
The 2022 program brochure described the plan to send 20,000 qualified applicants overseas.
Chinese online platform, Zhihu, recorded many grant recipients’ discussions. According to the posts, prospective applicants and grant recipients mostly communicated how to prepare for the application.
In the posts, they also described a few inconveniences for the grant recipients, such as reporting to the CSC every time the recipient leaves the host country for a meeting, travel, or back to China; serving as a designated representative by the Chinese embassy; writing reports regularly to the authorities every few months; and penalties for staying in the host country after graduation when an opportunity arises.
Regime Monitors Overseas Students
Jie Lijian, a Chinese activist now exiled in California, said that all state-funded researchers are required to sign the letter of guarantee and contract, which includes a job that’s awaiting after returning home, according to a report on Radio Free Asia.
However, once the contract is breached, the penalties will afflict those who endorse the application, including the professors, the university, and the family members.
Jie also mentioned that in concerted actions, organizations such as China’s overseas friendship associations and Chinese alumni associations monitor the researchers and students and regularly direct the political agendas within the group.
For instance, when he was learning English as a second language at a local institute in LA, the overseas friendship association would regularly host events such as hiking, barbecues, and spread flyers to recruit members on campus.
During the overseas White Paper Movement, which echoed the students’ protests in China against the strict lockdown measures in December 2022, these groups were seen at local events to intervene in overseas democratic activity, Jie told Radio Free Asia.
Zhang Ting contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times