'We need to stop them' Iain Duncan Smith urges UK to stand up to China’s worrying 'threat'


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China’s funnelling of cash into UK universities in recent years has sparked alarm over the risks of Beijing’s subtle influence in Britain. In an exclusive interview with Express.co.uk, Mr Duncan Smith warned China’s influence on British universities is posing a direct “threat” to the UK.

He warned: “We should stop the way they are pouring money into UK universities and their view of that is to get technology from these universities.

“And also knowing that many of the future establishments will be drawn from these institutions, they are trying to subvert them. This is all part of the game and everything they do revolves around that.

“We need to show forcefully that we are not prepared to put up with their nonsense, their trashing of international rules, the WTO, Hong Kong and their behaviour in occupying the South China Sea.

“They are a threat to us, both a military and ideological threat and we need to deal with that.”

Now, a cross-party group of 20 MPs, including Mr Duncan Smith, have tabled an amendment to the Government’s new free speech Bill to change the rules on Chinese funding in Britain.

The amendment would force universities to report the funding and activities of Confucius Institutes, which offer language and cultural programmes overseas.

It came after Freedom of Information requests revealed that Vice-chancellors at 17 universities have accepted at least £24million of Beijing funds to run these institutes which are funded and monitored through China’s Ministry of Education.

But five of those institutions routinely refuse to reveal their funding.

The China Research Group (CRG) of MPs suspect the real amount of funding over the past decade amounts to £28million.

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This is just one example of where China is pumping funds into the UK institutions, and it has raised questions as to whether it is a way for Beijing to spread propaganda and steal information.

This also comes after Mr Duncan Smith called for a review back in 2020 to assess the impact of Beijing’s growing economic power in Britain.

And he warned that it is not just universities where Chinese investment is having a growing influence.

The Conservative MP for Chingford and Woodford Green said at the time: “What’s going on is the insertion of Chinese influence in all sorts of areas.

“It’s going on piecemeal, and it’s not been properly collated. I believe the government has to pull it together in a strategic review and wonder what the overall impact on the UK is.”

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Since calling for the review, Mr Duncan Smith told Express.co.uk “the Government is now reacting to it”.

He added: “They were definitely slow to begin with, but they are getting better.”

The senior backbencher has also been successful in standing up to China before, as he was one of the key voices that argued against Chinese technology giant Huawei joining Britain’s 5G telecoms network.

The move resulted in a tougher stance being taken on the company.


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