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China’s Influence on Dutch Education

Aurora Brief Reviews No. 17 July 17 2020

September 2020

The Clingendael Institute has published a report on China’s influence on Dutch education: “China’s invloed op onderwijs in Nederland: een verkenning” (in Dutch, unfortunately). The authors conclude that China indeed makes efforts to influence higher education and research in the Netherlands – they saw no signs of this in secondary education.

China’s political influence mainly takes shape in self-censorship by academics, administrators and students – as well as among academic publishers. Self-censorship can be seen in opinions that are (not) expressed and in research topics that are (not) chosen. The report looks at interference through the Confucius Institutes as well as through other channels and is based on desk research and confidential interviews.

From the report, one may conclude that Chinese interference seems to be less through the Confucius institutes and more through indirect leaning on academics who focus on China in their research and teaching: visa, project money and contacts and China are the primary means used.
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