UK-China Transparency has published notes on the China Scholarship Council (CSC) in the UK, and a translation of a key CSC document.

The CSC is a part of the Chinese Ministry of Education. It is the main vehicle through which the Chinese government funds Chinese students’ study in the UK, funding at least 650 PhD students per year.

Typically, the CSC pays scholarship recipients’ living costs, whilst UK universities pay or waive their tuition fees. Recipients are selected by the CSC.

CSC’s programmes have come under increasing scrutiny for their politicisation and the threat of industrial espionage and campus interference that they pose. This has led well-known universities in Sweden, Germany and the USA to cut ties.

UK-China Transparency is publishing a new translation of the CSC’s ‘Rules’, which define CSC’s programmes and impose terms on scholarship recipients.

  • Since 2020, the ‘Rules’ have demanded that applicants be subject to a “rigorous review” of their “political ideology”. This is one example of the politicisation of the scheme under Xi Jinping.
  • Recipients must nominate two guarantors (usually friends or family) in China. These guarantors face financial penalties if recipients breach their contract with CSC, for example, by acting against China’s “national interests”.
  • Recipients must accept the “guidance and management” of their nearest Chinese embassy or consulate, and submit regular technical updates on their work.
  • The CSC is also a major funder of British scholars going to study in China.

The details uncovered by UKCT raise serious legal, ethical and commercial questions for UK universities collaborating with CSC.

University staff concerned can contact UKCT at [email protected]