lørdag 10. juli 2021

University of Oslo under fire for hosting Fudan’s centre

The controversy over the University of Oslo’s agreement to host the European centre of China’s Fudan University, signed back in February, has re-erupted in the past fortnight, triggered by parallel anger in Hungary where protesters have taken to the streets to oppose plans for a Fudan branch in Budapest.

“I have full confidence in the University of Oslo handling of the China centre,” Norway’s Minister of Research and Higher Education Henrik Asheim said in answer to a question in the Norwegian parliament from the head of the education committee, Roy Steffensen, on 9 June.

He was forced to defend the arrangement on the day that Hanne Skartveit, political editor of Verdens Gang, the major Norwegian newspaper, warned that “a centre controlled by the Communist Party in China is in the process of being established at the University of Oslo. This is naïve.” She described the Oslo-Fudan agreement as “the fox in the academic chicken coop” and pointed out that the only other country in Europe that has welcomed Fudan University is Hungary, “a European country in flight away from democracy”.

“China got an agreement to build and fund a new university in the capital Budapest, partly by loans and partly by direct funds from China. This has created massive protests. People in the capital will not have a Chinese-governed university which is breaking with academic freedom. And protests have succeeded,” Skartveit said.