Free Tibet statement regarding Scottish Government's announcement of new Confucius Classrooms in Scotland

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Alistair Currie of Free Tibet said:

“Free Tibet appreciates the challenges schools face in providing Chinese-language teaching and we strongly believe that increased contact between the people of China and the people of Scotland is a positive thing. Our concern is that, in the case of Confucius Classrooms, the Scottish Government is facilitating that teaching and contact on terms which give influence over children to a government that suppresses free speech inside its own borders and which is responsible for widespread human rights abuses, particularly in Tibet.

"In its urgency to trade with China, the Scottish Government is at risk of forgetting that the Chinese government's gifts come with strings attached. This is an undemocratic, human rights abusing regime that would prefer we ignore all of that: that's what it wants in Scottish classrooms too. The government shouldn't be laying down a red carpet for China's charm offensive."

-ends-

For further information and comment, contact Free Tibet media manager, Alistair Currie:

E: alistair@freetibet.org
T: 0207 324 4605

Notes

Scottish Government announcement, 26 July 2015 http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/21-new-Confucius-classrooms-1b77.aspx

Chinese government agency Hanban currently disburses US$10,000 per year to each Scottish Confucius Classroom. It approves their plans in advance of disbursing the money. There are currently 29 Hanban teachers, Chinese citizens employed by and politically vetted by Beijing, in Scottish schools. Source: Freedom of Information reply from Confucius Institute for Scotland's Schools, University of Strathclyde, dated 11 Feb 2015. Copy and further information about the existing scheme in Scotland available from Free Tibet.

Free Tibet campaigns to prevent Confucius Classrooms causing an unbalanced and inaccurate perception of China and Tibet in UK schools. More information on the Confucius Classroom scheme available at www.freetibet.org/hosting-a-dragon Free Tibet has contacted all Scottish schools hosting Confucius Classrooms to warn them of the risks and offer teaching resources to provide a more accurate understanding of China, including Chinese-language information from dissident and independent sources banned in China itself