How fake award for a tycoon left Oxford University open to Chinese influence


Summary generated on August 16, 2020

    An Oxford academic handed out a "Meaningless" university qualification to a Hong Kong businessman with ties to the Chinese authorities at a high-profile ceremony in Shanghai last year, in the latest incident to raise concerns about Chinese influence on UK higher education.

    Alan Hudson awarded the title "Belt and Road Academician from Oxford University" to Chan King Wai, who is a member of an advisory body to China's rubber-stamp parliament, at a ceremony attended by an official from the British consulate and dozens of other people.

    Oxford University only gives a handful of honorary degrees at the Encaenia ceremony each year.

    At Oxford, in his role as director of programmes in leadership and public policy, Hudson organised short courses, usually a couple of weeks, for officials from countries including China, where the university's brand is widely recognised.

    " Neither Oxford University nor the Oxford Chinese studies department responded to requests for comment about the award, or whether Chan had made a donation.

    In addition to his role advising the National People's Congress, Chan is also vice-chairman of a commerce industry body with ties to the Chinese Communist party, sits on the council of several Chinese universities and holds a string of other official posts.

    Neil O'Brien, MP for Harborough and a founding member of the China Research Group, which brings together Conservative politicians who are critical of Beijing, said British universities needed to be more careful about fundraising in China.