Youth organizers linked to the Communist Party of China (CCP) are actively recruiting Hong Kongers in exile at British universities, according to a statement from several Hong Kong advocacy groups.
The Hong Kong branch of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), part of the Outreach and Influence Program of the CPC’s United Front Department, is calling on Hong Kong students in the UK to enroll in a “mentorship” in several universities.
“Although it is directly linked to a government organization, [the program] promised that ‘there will be no political propaganda,'” said a joint statement by five Hong Kong activist groups in the UK, including Power to Hongkongers and Nottingham Stands with Hong Kong.
“This assertion is contradictory… We strongly oppose this scheme due to our deep concern about its secret political purpose,” the statement, which was also signed by Durham Stands with Hong Kong, Newcastle Stands with Hong Kong and the Liverpool Hongkongers Alliance, said.
“We urge participating student associations to withdraw from this program and disassociate themselves from this organization,” read the statement, posted on the Nottingham Stands with Hong Kong Facebook page.
A spokesman for Newcastle Stands with Hong Kong who only went by the nickname K said Hong Kong activists are increasingly concerned about the CCP’s infiltration of British universities.
“We have also experienced many CCP infiltrations in UK universities when we study,” K said. Hong Kong student activities on campus to support Hong Kong.”
“Companies participating in this mentorship program are mostly established by Hong Kongers and wield some influence in Hong Kong student circles,” K said. “We fear that the CCP will continue to brainwash the next generation of Hong Kongers. abroad by infiltrating these companies.”
K said that the CCP’s propaganda, imposed by a draconian national security law imposed on Hong Kong by the CCP from July 1, 2020, has already changed the atmosphere in Hong Kong’s universities, especially the University. Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Polytechnic University, which withstood attacks by fully armed riot police and even an armored car on their respective campuses with Molotov cocktails and makeshift weapons in November 2019.
“The CCP has never stopped infiltrating and setting up…organizations overseas to try to extend its influence to students from other countries,” K.
“Foreign governments should pay more attention to this attempt to co-opt universities, in order to curb the expansion of the CCP’s influence,” they said.
Hong Kong societies of eight UK universities, including Kings’ College London, University of Leeds and Queen Mary University of London, had already signed up to the “mentorship” scheme at the time of the statement.
Kings College London removed the poster shortly after the August 8 statement was released, followed by other companies on August 9.
But the poster remains on the Instagram accounts of the Unite UK Alliance and the Hong Kong society of Swansea University.
Advantages against dangers
Chu Seoi, a doctoral student at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who currently teaches at a German university, said the “mentorship” program offered exciting benefits to participants and urged Hong Kongers to remember who was behind it.
“This program is quite tempting,” Chu told RFA. “But the problem is that it is provided by the enemy of us Hong Kongers: the CCP’s United Front Work Department.”
“It is provided by the same CCP that took our city, our home and destroyed freedom and democracy in Hong Kong,” Chu said.
“It’s like someone who just killed your family comes running in and offers to introduce you to people… who could help you in your career.”
An employee by the name of Yue who answered the phone at the Hong Kong CPPCC Youth Association on Wednesday said the mentorship program matches young Hong Kong students with industry leaders in various sectors and that it costs nothing to participate.
“Students from the UK can participate,” she said. “We will match them with a mentor according to their wishes, and they will be able to communicate with other members of a group.”
“We don’t charge students money for this, but it’s been postponed to October now,” Yue said.
The group was established in 2014 and consists of CPPCC members under the age of 45 and the offspring of wealthy Hong Kong business owners, to “serve our nation, serve Hong Kong and serve our members”, according to a motto on his Facebook page.
Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.