NI university refuses to say how much cash it gets from communist tyranny

The University of Ulster refuses to say how much money it gets from the Chinese regime – and declines to condemn its “crimes against humanity” towards Uyghurs.

By Adam Kula
Monday, 26th April 2021, 6:00 am
Uyghur detainees in a Chinese concentration camp. Image from Human Rights Watch which captioned it: "Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang."
Uyghur detainees in a Chinese concentration camp. Image from Human Rights Watch which captioned it: "Government social media post in April 2017 shows detainees in a political education camp in Lop County, Hotan Prefecture, Xinjiang."

The university is linked to the Chinese state via a body called the Confucius Institute, which was set up in 2011 to promote cultural and business ties.

But now the university is facing a fusillade of criticism from those concerned about China’s Uyghur minority, many of whom are held in a network of secretive concentration camps.

The Uyghurs (pronounced ‘wee-gurs’) are ethnically related to Turkish people, and are largely Muslim.

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They number about 13 million – a tiny minority in a nation of some 1.4 billion people – and mainly live in a sparsely-populated desert region in the far west of China.

The Chinese state refers to their homeland as Xinjiang.

Many Uyghurs themselves call it East Turkestan.

Once interned in the camps, it is alleged that the captives are subject to “re-education” by communist officials, much of it aimed at suppressing the worship of God.

There are also allegations that Uyghur women have been forcibly sterilised, and that Uyghur workers are being advertised in batches of 50 and 100, under military-style supervision, for Chinese employers to obtain via recruitment websites.

The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, alongside other UK faith leaders, has said the attacks on Uyghurs are so grave that they amount to “one of the most egregious human tragedies since the Holocaust”.

The US State Department says China’s policies amount to “genocide” and “crimes against humanity”.

Last year, the USA also condemned the global web of Confucius Institutes themselves, saying they are a means of “advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence”.


Ulster University says its own Confucius Institute runs activities like staff and student exchanges, and Mandarin classes for school children.

The News Letter asked Ulster University a handful of questions, including whether any representation has been made by the university or its staff to any of its Chinese partners about the ongoing crimes against Uyghurs.

It replied that “the answer is no” – adding: “The connection between Ulster and Chinese universities has deepened co-operation in the exchange of teachers and students, establishing research and development platforms, and sharing teaching ideas and other resources.

“Such co-operation continues to promote innovation in talent cultivation, scientific research, business connections and cultural heritage.”

It was also asked how much funding it has received from China in the last three years, and whether it all came via the Confucius Institute.

It initially responded that this was “commercially sensitive”.

Pressed further by the News Letter, it said: “Ulster University deems that this information belongs to a third party – ie, The Office of the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban), and is therefore unable to release.”

It was pointed out to the university that its statement contained not one word of criticism concerning China’s actions in Xinjiang.

It said: “The university’s Confucius Institute was established to develop academic, cultural, economic and social ties between Northern Ireland and China, and the university engages with the institute on that basis.”


The leadership in Beijing strongly rejects the idea that it is mistreating Uyghur people.

Unable to deny the existence of the camps themselves due to photographic evidence, it instead dubs them “vocational training centres”.

Internally, China’s athiest regime justifies its policies as a counterweight to what it sees as religious fundamentalism.

According to documents leaked to the New York Times last year, if any of the captives’ children ask when their parents will be allowed home, officials are meant to tell them: “Freedom is only possible when this ‘virus’ in their thinking is eradicated.”

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