Posts tagged ‘Confucius Institute’

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Look at the Rumors about China Radio International

There has been some talk about plans among China’s leaders to close down a number of foreign-language services – the German-language department among them -, at China Radio International (CRI), China’s international broadcaster. Keith Perron, a radio producer in Taiwan, claimed inside knowledge and suggested that, according to this quote by Glenn Hauser‘s World of Radio, March 26:

At last month’s meeting of the committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, one of the subcommittees, headed by Zhang Dejiang, who is also chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will form a twelve-member board to look into the effectiveness of shortwave as a [unreadable] platform for China Radio International. Members include leaders from various former ministries, including the [unreadable], culture, propaganda, SARFT, and the central committee.They may be looking at shortwave cuts made in Australia, Canada, Russia, UK, and the US. Last year the Chinese government spent over 600 mega Yuan on the shortwave, that’s about 100 mega dollars US. It includes not only CRI, but China National Radio [aka Chinese People’s Broadcasting Station, CPBS — JR]. They will be looking at staff reductions. CRI currently has a staff of 8,500. They are looking at reducing some 40 percent, closing several of their overseas bureaus, closing CRI Television, some CRI language services. Looked at for axing are: Tagalog, Polish, Greek, Italian, German, Esperanto, Kroatian, Dutch, Swedish, Norwegian, Icelandic, Finnish, Bulgarian, and Danish. But English would be expanded, as would Chinese.

What struck me on December 31 last year – but it wouldn’t lead me to dramatic conclusions, of course – was that party secretary general and state chairman Xi Jinping had dropped CRI from his new-year’s address. The broadcaster was mentioned along with CPBS and CCTV by Xinhua’s introductory text, but not by Xi himself. Both Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin had made it a tradition to mention CRI, CPBS, and CCTV in their new year’s addresses – and CRI was always mentioned first.

To put the rumors about CRI into some perspective, though, Perron had been a critic of “waste” at CRI for some time, and understatment isn’t onw of his greatest hobbies. The Voice of America (VoA), for example, is a terminally ill patient, which might lead to the question who’s more dead – the American or the Chinese foreign broadcaster.

And Bernd Seiser, chairman of the Radio Taiwan International Ottenau Listeners’ Club, said in his April 10 club bulletin he had been told by CRI staff that

I can confirm that CRI will not terminate its German-language programs on shortwave.

However, listeners who wanted information on shortwave frequencies would need to enquire with the German department, rather than receive frequency notifications automatically by email, said Seiser.

So, how much truth is there in the rumors about closing the departments mentioned by Perron? That’s hard to tell.  For one, it appears unlikely to me that CPPCC committee activities would go completely unreported inside China (which appears to be the case – I’ve seen no such report in the Chinese media). However, it wouldn’t appear exactly unlikely that China’s top cadres want CRI to become more effective. Three years ago, CRI German still ran a program dedicated to listeners’ letters and emails, but the feedback, as a rule, appeared to be embarrassingly low. Regular broadcasts of telephone interviews with German listeners weren’t a terribly reviving factor either. By now, feedback from the audience is interspersed into CRI Panorama, a magazine with a variety of topics, rather than featured in a dedicated program. An editorial staff of 31, according to CRI German’s website anyway, might be expected to draw a bigger crowed on the other side of the radio, too. (That said, there’s no information concerning their working hours.)

What seems highly unlikely to me is a closure of the German department. For the time being, Germany is an important “partner” for the Chinese leadership, in technological and partly in political terms. For one, both China and Germany try to defend their inveterately high trade surpluses against a growing international chorus of criticism. Even a small congregation of “early Christians” is probably worth being nurtured, from the CCP’s point of view.

Will shortwave be reduced? Maybe, but not necessarily. If the early Christians want shortwave, maybe their prayers will be heard. And jamming of foreign broadcasters like VoA, BBC, or All India Radio, will remain in place anyway. To avoid making it unnecessarily obvious, domestic CPBS stations at least will continue to be used as informal jammers in future, too, along with the “Firedrake”.

Does CRI make a big difference in Germany? Hardly so. What does make a big difference is Chinese financial and economic engagement in Germany, and Chinese interest in German products: sponsoring professorships, taking a stake in a new (and not yet used-to-capacity) German seaport, buying Volkswagen cars, etc.. China’s money has great leverage in Germany, even in German politics.

China’s public diplomacy remains a seedling here – but that’s probably no reason to dump CRI German.

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Related/Updates

» 杨尚昆, 通过中国国际广播电台, Jan 1, 1993
»
CRI 历史, CRI, undated
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Sunday, February 15, 2015

Taiwan Newsarticle: European and American Universities refusing Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

The following is a translation of an article published online by Radio Taiwan International (RTI), on January 13 this year. RTI based their article on coverage by United Daily News (聯合報), the Liberty Times (自由時報, sister to the English-language Taipei Times), and Associated Press (AP).

I haven’t checked upon mainland coverage of these issues yet (RTI mentions Huanqiu Shibao, for example), but might do so next week.

As for Astrid Soderbergh Widding, the Stockholm University vice-chancellor quoted by RTI, the South China Morning Post quoted her in January as saying that “establishing institutes that are funded by another nation, within the framework of a university, is rather a questionable practice”.

Links within blockquotes added during translation.

Main Link:
Academic Freedom Threatened, European and American Universities refuse Cooperation with Confucius Institutes

Related Tag:
Confucius Institute

Mainland China’s Huanqiu Shibao reported on January 12 that Stockholm University has announced the termination, by the end of June, of its cooperation with the Confucius Institute in Stockholm – the first Confucius Institute founded in Europe, in 2005. The reason was that given the expansion of bilateral cooperation, this form of co0peration was no longer in step with the times. Before that, two American universities also said that they would not renew their contracts with the Confucius Institutes. These decisions reflect the concerns that the role of Confucius Institutes in the respective countries have caused.

大陸環球時報12日報導,瑞典斯德哥爾摩大學宣布,將在今年6月底關閉於2005年開辦的歐洲地區第一所孔子學院,理由是,隨著雙邊關係的拓展,這項合作已不符合時宜。在此之前,美國也有2所大學表示不再與孔子學院續約。歐美學府的這些決定反映出孔子學院的角色已在相關國家引發關切。

To alleviate doubts, Beijing promotes soft power

◎消除疑慮 北京推軟實力

Supported by its economic power, mainland China’s international political status has risen, Beijing’s rise received high global attention, and it also led to some doubts: to highlight China’s rise as a peaceful one, and to strengthen mainland China’s international influence, Beijing set out from the cultural level to actively promote soft power, and the establishment of Confucius Institutes abroad was what caught most attention among the promotional measures.

在經濟實力的支撐下,中國大陸的國際政治地位水漲船高,北京的崛起受到國際高度重視,也引發了一些疑慮;為了凸顯中國大陸是和平崛起,並強化大陸的國際影響力,北京從文化層面著手,積極推展軟實力,其中最受矚目的就是在境外設立孔子學院。

In November 2004, the first Confucius Institute put up its name plate in Seoul, and since, Confucius Institutes have also been established in countries in Asia, America, Europe, and Africa.

2004年11月,第一座孔子學院在南韓首都首爾掛牌;後來,亞洲、美洲、歐洲、非洲等許多國家也分別設立孔子學院。

By September 2014, 123 countries worldwide cooperated with mainland China, having set up 465 Confucius Institutes and 173 Confucius Classrooms. In America alone, 100 universities took part in such programs.

截至2014年9月,全球已有123個國家與大陸合作,開辦了465所孔子學院和713個孔子課堂,單單美國就有100所大學參與相關計畫。

Confucius Institutes lead in funding

◎主導經費教材 孔子學院惹爭議

The Confucius Institutes are usually set up right within the foreign universities that sign contracts with Beijing, but the [central] government in Beijing provides funding, chooses the staff that teaches abroad, and specifies the teaching material. This has caused quite some controversy.

這些孔子學院通常是直接設立在與北京簽約的外國學府裡,但卻由北京政府提供經費、選派教師並指定教材。此舉引發相當大的爭議。

It is [sometimes] said that Confucius Institutes operating within universities have some influence on the curricula of those schools and could endanger the schools’ integrity. These commentators believe that Confucius Institutes pose a threat to academic freedom.

有評論表示,孔子學院在大學內運作,對這些學校的課程具有一定的影響力,可能危及該校的完整性。批評者認為,孔子學院對學術自由構成威脅。

Stockholm University vice-chancellor Astrid Söderbergh Widding says that when institutions within universities are funded by governments of other countries, the approach does indeed pose problems.

斯德哥爾摩大學副校長維丁(Astrid Soderbergh Widding)就表示,大學內設立的機構是由另一個國家政府提供經費,這種作法的確有問題。

The ways Confucius Institutes operate have also attracted the attention of foreign governments. Indian and Japanese officials have questioned that Confucius Institutes only teach the Chinese language – [suggesting that] they also spread ideological attitued, and deliberately influence countries’ assessments of mainland China.

孔子學院的運作模式也受到外國政府的關注。印度和日本的官員曾經質疑,孔子學院不僅教授中文,也傳輸意識形態,意圖影響各國對中國大陸的評價。

A report published in October 2013 by American think tank “Project 2049 Research Institute” pointed out that while teaching Chinese, Confucius Institutes also inculcate ideological attitudes, thus influencing foreign circles’ judgment of Beijing.

美國華盛頓智庫「2049計畫研究所」就曾於2013年10月公布一份報告指出,孔子學院在教授中文的同時,也在灌輸意識形態,藉此影響外界對北京的評斷。

To promote academic independence, American scholars demand end to cooperation

◎維護學術獨立 美學者促停止合作

Nevertheless, Beijing’s strategy of promoting soft power by the establishment of Confucius Institues in numerous countries worldwide has seen growing resistance in recent years. Besides Stockholm University, universities and schools in America and Canada have terminated or suspended cooperation with Confucius Institutes.

不過,北京在世界許多國家設立孔子學院推廣軟實力的策略近年來遭遇越來越多的阻力。除了近日的斯德哥爾摩大學外,美國和加拿大去年都有大學院校終止或暫緩與孔子學院合作。

When the University of Chicago established a Confucius Institute in 2009, 174 professors of the university jointly opposed. Last year in April, 108 University of Chicago professors jointly demanded that after the cooperation term expire, cooperation with Beijing should be terminated, and the Confucius Institute no longer be allowed on the campus. They believed that the lecturers employed by Beijing had received special training to avoid or neglect politically sensitive topics such as “June 4″ or Taiwan. They believed that with Beijing’s control of the lecturers employment and training would earn the University of Chicago’s academic program political  mainland official management and control of political speech and influence on freedom of religion.

芝加哥大學於2009年設立孔子學院時,該校就曾有174位教授聯名反對。去年4月,108位芝加哥大學教授聯名要求校方於合約到期後,終止與北京的合作,不再讓孔子學院進駐校園。他們認為,北京方面聘用的講師都受過特別培訓,在課堂上會規避或忽略例如「六四」及台灣等政治敏感議題;這些教授認為,由北京控制教師的聘用和培訓,將導致芝加哥大學的學術計畫受到大陸官方管控的政治言論及信仰自由所左右。

On September 25 last year, the University of Chicago announced that the five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute would not be renewed after September 29.

去年9月25日,芝加哥大學宣布,與孔子學院的5年合約於該月29日到期後,不再續約。

Shortly afterwards, on October 1 2014, the Pennsylvania State University announced that they would terminate their five years of cooperation with the Confucius Institute.

緊接著,美國賓夕法尼亞州立大學也於去年10月1日宣布,終止與孔子學院的5年合作關係。

Beijing’s method of transmitting ideology needs to be corrected

◎傳輸意識形態 北京作法待修正

American paper Wall Street Journal wrote that the professors’ dissatisfaction with the Confucius Institutes came from lacking teaching skills and a refusal to accept some negative chapters in Chinese history*).

美國華爾街日報曾說,這些大學對孔子學院的不滿來自於「無法教授技能和拒絕接受一些中國歷史負面內容的篇章」。

In June last year, the American Association of University Professors called for 100 U.S. universities cancel or renegotiate their contracts with the Confucius Institutes, because the Confucius Institutes were propaganda branches of mainland Chinese, particularly dissimenating the mainland authorities ideological attitudes, in violation of academic freedom.

去年6月,美國大學教授協會呼籲美國的100所大學,取消或重啟與北京的孔子學院談判協議,因認為孔子學院是大陸當局的宣傳分支,主要在傳播大陸當局的意識形態,此舉違反學術自由。

Even earlier, in June 2013, the Canadian Association of University Teachers called on Canada’s universities and schools to terminate relations with the Confucius Institute, because allowing governments of totalitarian states to guide curricula content, teaching material and the topics in classroom dialogue would harm the integrity of all universities.

加拿大大學教師協會則早在2013年6月即已呼籲加拿大的大學院校與孔子學院斷絕關係,理由是如果允許極權國家的政府機構主導課程內容、教材及課堂上的討論話題,將損及各大學的誠信。

The University of Manitoba, and the Toronto District School Board refused or suspended the establishment of Confucius Institutes last year, their main concern being that Confucius Institutes could interfere with academic freedom at the schools.

加拿大曼尼托巴大學(University of Manitoba)和多倫多教育局已於去年先後拒絕或暫停設立孔子學院,主要的顧慮就是孔子學院會干涉學校的學術自由。

But is the gradual termination of cooperation with Confucius Institutes by European and American countries purely based on concern about academic freedom, or does it represent an outbreak of fear of mainland China? Future developments will be worth continued observation.

然而,歐美國家紛紛停止與孔子學院的合作,純粹只是對學術自由發展感到憂慮,還是代表歐美國家對大陸的另一種恐中發作?後續發展還值得繼續觀察。

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Note

*) If RTI referred to this WSJ blogpost, hiring practice rather than lacking skills were the source of dissatisfaction: the institutes’ hiring practices and refusal to acknowledge unflattering chapters of Chinese history.

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Related

» Unobtrusive and Imperceptible Moral Influence, Jan 7, 2012

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Saturday, February 7, 2015

CCP Influence on Education in Free Societies is a Problem – but it’s not the Main Challenge

Shoe Me Quick

Kiss Me Quick (while we still have this feeling)

Yaxue Cao of ChinaChange.org links to questions asked by U.S. Congressman Chris Smith:

Is American education for sale? And, if so, are U.S. colleges and universities undermining the principle of academic freedom and, in the process, their own credibility in exchange for China’s education dollars?

These are important questions, asked in New York University’s (NYU) cooperation with the East China Normal University (ECNU) in Shanghai. And Chris Smith, writes Cao, did not know the answer when he delivered his statement on Thursday.

There are people who think they do know the answer. Jörg-Meinhard Rudolph, a sinologist from south-western Germany, for example. In an interview with German national radio Deutschlandradio he said in the context of German universities cooperating with Confucius Institutes that

The [censoring] scissors are at work in the heads of these people. They know exactly that, if they are sinologists, for example, having cooperations or research, field research in China, they can’t do it the way Chinese, for example, can do it here. They have to cooperate with Chinese bodies. In many cases, these, too, are sub-departments of the central committee. And everyone knows what happens if you attend a talk by the Dalai Lama, for example. There are university boards who don’t go there, and they will tell you why: because they fear that their cooperations will suffer. That, in my view, is not in order. This is where you have to safeguard your independence. After all, that’s how universities came into being in Europe, during the 12th century – as independent institutions.

Every country seems to have its share of sinologists who believe – or believed in the past, anyway -, that free trade
with China would be the catalyst for political liberalism. They don’t seem to say that anymore, or maybe nobody quotes them anymore. But that doesn’t change the attitude of those who seem to believe, for whatever reason, that engagement is always better than maintaining a distance.

Cao also tends to believe that she knows the answer. She draws some conclusions that sound logical to me, and besides, she quotes Chinese stakeholders, whose statements suggest that the CCP carried the day at every stage at the ECNU negotiations with the NYU.

In fact, nobody should ever accuse the CCP of making a secret of their intentions. They discuss these intentions and drafts very openly, in the Chinese press. The problem, and here again it is time to quote Rudolph,

[…] is that the big China bestsellers in this country have all been written by people who can’t even read a Chinese newspaper.

The problem with maintaining standards – and I’m all for defining and defending some – is that political corrections come and go in waves. Campaigns, not reflection, shape the debates when it comes to how much cooperation with totalitarianism a free society can stand. When it is about the CCP infringing on freedoms, complaints usually get some media attention, because this fits into the general propaganda. When Chinese or ethnic Chinese people in Germany get censored, they get hardly any attention – it is as if the process were taking place in an anechoic chamber.

Rudolph, the sinologist quoted above, isn’t only a writer, but also a doer. He was the first president of the German Chamber of Commerce in Beijing, in 1997. And he was a “program observer” at the Chinese department of German foreign broadcaster Deutsche Welle, probably from the end of 2009 until 2014, appointed and paid by Deutsche Welle. That practice was never a matter of public debate in Germany, and no transparency either – only one news service cared to write a telling report, which only appeared in a media trade journal. At least four Chinese or Chinese-German journalists lost their contracts, apparently in conflicts over what was deemed “too CCP-friendly”. Rudolph doesn’t look like a champion of free speech to me.

The CCP is indeed unscrupulous. Its power abolishes freedom in China, and its influence endangers freedom where societies are supposed to be “autonomous”. A few weeks after Beijing and its puppet administration in Hong Kong had finished off legitimate democratic demands for universal suffrage from the Hong Kong public, Huanqiu Shibao (“Global Times”), one of the flagships of Chinese state media, warns that opposition against a mainland student running for university office at the University of Hong Kong reflected a dangerous “McCarthyite trend” in the former British colony. On a sidenote. if this conflict occured in Germany, Huanqiu might have tried allegations of Nazism instead.*)

But the CCP isn’t the core problem when it comes to its influence on academic institutions and people. When private enterprise becomes an important source of income for universities, that, too, endangers academic independence. There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

If there were clear standards, procedures and constant verification of their practice in general, and beyond this particular “communist problem”, nobody would have to fear the CCP anyway.

In that way, Beijing actually helps to demonstrate what is wrong with us. If we don’t get this fixed as free societies, don’t blame China. Don’t even blame the CCP.

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Note

*) Recent years have seen a resurgence of Nazi Skinheads in some places in Germany. Attacks on foreigners occur from time to time. The unhealthy trend of racism is also the background to a series of anti-China moves of some German mediaXinhua, in 2008, reacting to the suspension of then DW-Chinese deputy department manager Zhang Danhong.

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Related

» 不该让“麦卡锡”进校门, Huanqiu, Feb 6, 2015
» Hearing transcript, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Febr 4, 2015
» Princelings & Sideshows, March 4, 2011

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Saturday, November 30, 2013

Shortwave Log, Northern Germany, November 2013 (2)

1. Radio Botswana

Another log that takes a look at African radio, after these notes on Voice of Nigeria in September. Radio Botswana is owned by the government of the southern African country where the diamonds are forever. Radio Botswana broadcasts in English and Setswana, and appears to have done so since about 1966, formerly as Radio Bechuanaland. (Yes, KT, the station is online, too, and at least one out of the country’s two million citizens is a musician.)

Obviously, China Radio International (CRI) or, more precisely, a company with a name that amounts to Global Field Media company (环球广域传媒公司), has opened a studio there, but only recently. The Chinese ministry of foreign affairs reported on July 16 this year that on July 15, CRI’s director Wang Gengnian (王庚年), Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang (郑竹强), a deputy secretary from the Botswanean presidential office of public administration as well as delegates from the a/m Global Field Media company, Radio Botswana and from Chinese and overseas Chinese circles had been present at an opening ceremony of a CRI Gabarone program studio (中国国际广播电台哈博罗内节目制作室). CRI is scheduled to contribute material to the programs produced there, as is Radio Botswana.

Three days later, according to Xinhua, Wang Gengnian and the Global Field Media company were in Zambia, for the inauguration of an Overseas Chinese Weekly (华侨周报) there. China’s ambassador to Zambia, Zhou Yuxiao (周欲晓) also attended the ceremony.

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

Radio Botswana QSL, 1986

The Voice of America (VoA) operates from Moepeng Hill, Botswana, some twenty kilometers from Selebi-Phikwe. According to the British DX Club’s Africa on Shortwave, Radio Botswana was last heard on shortwave in early 2004 (In Britain, anyway). That said, the station is a domestic broadcaster, with no ambitions to be heard worldwide.

============

2. Recent Logs

International Telecommunication Union letter codes used in the table underneath:
ARG – Argentina; BOT – Botswana;  CUB – Cuba; IRL – Ireland; NZL – New Zealand; THA – Thailand; TIB – Tibet.

Languages (“L.”):
C – Chinese; E – English; F – French.

Signal Quality
S (strength) / I (interferences) / O (overall merit)
5 = excellent; 3 = fair; 1 = barely audible.

kHz

Station

Ctry

L.

Day

GMT

S I O
 4920 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 2 4 2
 4905 PBS Tibet TIB E Nov 2 16:00 1 2 1
 5505 Shannon
Volmet
IRL E Nov 2 17:55 5 5 5
 4930 VoA*) BOT E Nov 2 17:58 4 3 3
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 05:45 4 5 4
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 06:45 5 5 5
 5040 RHC Cuba CUB E Nov 3 07:00 5 5 5
 9965 Radio
Thailand
THA E Nov 9 19:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG F Nov 22 03:00 4 5 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:30 4 4 4
11710 RAE
Buenos Aires
ARG C Nov 22 04:40 3 3 3
15720 Radio New
Zealand
NZL E Nov 27 12:30 4 5 4
11725 Radio New
Zealand
NZL E Nov 30 07:00 5 5 4

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Notes

*) See 1) Radio Botswana.

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Related

Previous shortwave logs »

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Friday, October 19, 2012

CRI on Kabul University’s Chinese Faculty: Great Opportunities

The following is a translation of a China Radio International (CRI) article published online on October 12.

These students who are reading Chinese aloud, along with their teacher, are twenty Afghan students who are currently studying in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, at Taiyuan University of Technology’s international exchange institute. Why are so many Afghan students there in Taiyuan, you may ask. Taiyuan University of Technology international exchange institute deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains: “When Afghan president Karzai visited China in 2008, the two sides signed a cultural assistance agreement which included some important content about China helping Kabul University to establish a Confucius Institute, and to build, on that foundation, Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. The Confucius Institute assigned Taiyuan University to do this work. To this end, we started running school at Kabul University in 2008, and these students enrolled in March 2010, and came [to China] in September 2011. You can say that they are third-formers, now in their sixth semester.”

跟着老师朗读汉语的同学是来自阿富汗的20位留学生,他们现就读于中国山西省太原理工大学国际交流学院。您也许会问,这么多阿富汗留学 生为何集中在太原学习中文呢?太原理工大学国际交流学院副院长赵恩源教授介绍说:“2008年阿富汗卡尔扎伊总统访问中国的时候,双方签署了一个文化援助 协议,其中一项重要内容就是中国帮助喀布尔大学建设孔子学院,并在此基础上建设喀布尔大学汉语系。太原理工大学受孔子学院总部的指派承担了这项工作。为 此,我们08年就在阿富汗喀布尔大学开始办学了,这批学生是2010年3月份入学的,2011年9月份过来的,他们算是三年级了,正在进行第六学期的学 习。”

Currently, as the security situation in Afghanistan remains grim, equipment at the university is backward, funding is sparse, and one can imagine that under these circumstances, setting up the first Chinese faculty in Afghanistan’s history  here is difficult. But all along, the enthusiasm among young Afghans to learn Chinese is high. Young Afghan Hu Shan, explaining his reasons to learn Chinese, says: “I have been here in China for a year now. I really love learning Chinese. When I had passed the university entry exam, I chose learning Chinese. I first learned at Kabul University for a year and a half, and through my efforts, I now have the opportunity to study in China. Because our country and China have always maintained friendly relations, I also like Chinese culture, and I am interested in the lives of the Chinese people.”

目前,由于阿富汗国内安全局势依然严峻,大学教学设备落后、资金短缺,在这种情况下开设阿富汗历史上第一个汉语专业的难度可想而知。不 过阿富汗青年学习汉语的热情却始终很高。阿富汗青年胡山在谈到学习汉语的原因时说:“我来中国已经一年了。我很爱学习汉语。考大学以后选择了学汉语。我在 喀布尔大学先学了一年半,通过努力能有这个机会来中国。因为我们的国家和中国一直都保持友好关系,我也很喜欢中国文化,对中国人的生活我也很感兴趣。”

Deputy Dean of Faculty, Professor Zhao Enyuan, explains that when they started recruiting students in Afghanistan, young Afghans who wanted to enroll or asked for information came in an endless stream, their enthusiasm for learning Chinese was unusually high, and surprised the recruiting teachers. Good employment prospects probably also support the interest to learn Chinese. Zhao Enyuan says: “some of our students were asked to do translation work while having just started learning. There were two fourth-formers who did this kind of work. Locals had come straight to the Chinese faculty, and I recommended two students. In one day, they earned 200 US dollars, and they worked for 15 days. They had lessons in the morning, and after lessons, they just ran (off to their work). Locals, once they have business with China, are in need of their translation work. Working for tens of days, these two students earned 2,000 or 3,000 US dollars. One can say that provided that you learn Chinese well, such opportunities are ample there.

赵恩源副院长介绍说,当初在阿富汗招生的时候,前来报名和咨询的阿富汗青年络绎不绝,他们学习汉语的热情异常高涨,让从事招生工作的老 师都感到很吃惊。良好的就业前景应该也是让学汉语在阿富汗受追捧的重要原因。赵恩源说:“我们有的学生上学的时候就被请去做翻译工作。有两个四年级的学生 做过这样的工作。当地人直接找到汉语系,我就推荐了两个人去。一天就是200美元,干了15天。学生上午上课,一下课就跑了(去当翻译)。当地人跟中国公 司有一单生意,所以需要他们这样的翻译。工作了十几天,这两个学生就挣了2、3千美元啊。可以说只要是把汉语学好,这样的机会在当地是非常多的。”

It is understood that because of limited funding, only the minority of the many Afghans who are studying Chinese can really get to China to take further lessons there. But taking Afghanistan’s particular national situation into account and to give more students the opportunity to come to China, the Confucius Institute headquarter does its best to support Kabul University. Zhao Enyuan says: “From this class of 20 Afghan students, eighteen have applied for (Chinese government-provided) scholarships. On average, every Confucius institute only has a quota of two or three scholarships granted.

据了解,由于经费有限,在众多学习汉语的阿富汗青年中,真正能来华进修学习的留学生还只是少数。但考虑到阿富汗的特殊国情,为了让该校 汉语系学生获得更多来华深造的机会,孔子学院总部尽最大可能给予了喀布尔大学以支持。赵恩源说:“现在这班有20个阿富汗学生,其中18个申请到了(中国 政府提供的)奖学金。如果绝对平均的话,每个孔子学院平均只有2到3个奖学金名额。对阿富汗学生来华学习,孔子学院总部是很支持的,让他们尽可能来中国学 习。”

Afghan students are well aware that this opportunity doesn’t come easily, and are therefore hard-working learners. Their diligence deeply touches the teachers. Chang Lili, in charge of organizing the lessons, says: “All in all, I’m in touch with three classes of students. Compared to overseas students from other countries, they are learning diligently, they know how to learn. Many of them even continue studying in the classroom until midnight. They are really hard-working students.”

阿富汗留学生深知这样的机会来之不易,因此平日里学习特别刻苦,而他们的勤奋好学精神也深深打动了学校的老师。负责阿富汗留学生教学安排的常莉丽老 师说:“我一共接触了三批学生,都挺好的。比别的国家来的留学生都努力,很知道学习。他们很多学生来了以后有的甚至到晚上12点还在教室里学习,很刻 苦。”

For the students to learn at ease, the university has done its best to satisfy their various needs. To respect their faith, the university has opened a special prayer room, and to provide them with food they can eat without reservations, a halal canteen has been set up. Not only that: the university also organized [a] form master[s] to take care of their studies and lives. Class monitor Annu Wali says: “As a class monitor representing everyone, I would like to tell Afghans at home that we are fine, that we learn well, and that life is also very good. I hope that Afghan lives will also get better and better.”

为了让阿富汗留学生能够安心学习,校方还尽可能满足他们的各种需求。为尊重留学生的宗教信仰,学校专门开设了祷告室;为了让他们在异国 他乡吃得顺口还特别设立了清真餐厅。不仅如此,学校还安排了班主任照管他们的学习和生活。班长买买提?安努瓦里说:“我作为班长想代表大家对家里的阿富汗 人说,我们在这里很好,学习很好,生活也很好。希望以后阿富汗人的生活也越来越好。”

A comfortable learning environment puts these students who came from afar in a position to focus on learning Chinese, and under the high-level cultivation from their teachers and by their own diligence, most of them will find ideal jobs. Aomar is from the first semester who graduated at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty, and after that, because of his excellent study results, he became a Chinese teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. He says: “I’m now a teacher at Kabul University’s Chinese faculty. My first objective is to teach Afghans at Kabul University Chinese in their own language.”

舒适的学习环境让这些远道而来的留学生可以专注地学习汉语,在中方老师的辛勤培养和他们个人的勤奋努力下,从这里毕业的留学生大多找到 了理想的工作。奥马尔是喀布尔大学汉语系第一期的毕业生,毕业后,他以优异的成绩留校成为了阿富汗喀布尔大学中文系的一名汉语老师。他说:“我现在是喀布 尔大学中文系的一位汉语老师。首先我当老师的第一个目的是因为以前在阿富汗没有人教中文,我是要用我们的语言教阿富汗人学中文。”

Now, the freshmen at Kabul University Chinese faculty in 2012 have enrolled, full of expectations and hoping to learn Chinese well. This is also the wish of professor Zhao Enyuan for these new students. He says: “I hope that the students, no matter if currently in China or in their last semester in Kabul, or those I haven’t met yet, will learn Chinese diligently and skillfully. China is the only neighbor without a war between it and Afghanistan during the past 500 years. Afghans are also extremely friendly towards China. I hope that these students will learn Chinese well, understand Chinese culture, and become bridges and links for Sino-Afghan friendship. I also hope that through their improved dissemination of Chinese language and Chinese culture, more Afghans will understand this friendly, amicable and hard-working Chinese nation.”

目前,喀布尔大学汉语系2012级的新生已经入学,他们对未来充满期待,希望能把汉语学好,这也是赵恩源教授对这些新同学的期望。他 说:“我希望不管是正在中国学习的还是正在喀布尔大学读最后一个学期的,还有我没见过面的学生们,更加勤奋扎实地学习汉语。中国是阿富汗近500年来唯一 没有发生过战争的邻国,阿富汗人对中国也是十分友好的。我希望这些学生把汉语学好,熟悉中国文化,成为中阿友谊的桥梁和纽带。同时我也希望通过他们更好地 传播汉语语言和中国文化,让更多的阿富汗人了解中国这样一个友好、友善、勤劳的民族。”

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Related

» Remaking the Watchdog, WSJ, Oct 18, 2012
» The biggest investor, Xinhua, June 6, 2012
» Deutsche Welle director quotes Karzai, Deutsche Welle TV, June 2011
» A Taste of Chinese Life, China Daily, Dec 2, 2009
» Give us Afghanistan, Sep 22, 2009

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hu Jintao’s Africa Forum Speech: Talent Exchange, People-to-People Diplomacy, and no Bullying

Chinese party and state chairman Hu Jintao announced on the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation’s 5th ministerial-level meeting’s opening ceremony in Beijing on Thursday that China would provide 20 billion US dollars in loans to African countries during the next three years. This is twice as much as China’s commitment of three years ago, writes the BBC‘s Mandarin website. China had offered loans both on the Cooperation Forum’s 2006 and 2009 ministerial-level meetings. These two-days events are held every three years.

In 2006, Hu had announced 500 million US dollars in loans, and in 2009, chief state councillor Wen Jiabao announced ten billion (probably – the BBC apparently forgot a number of zeros) US dollars. Before the meeting this year, Chinese trade minister Chen Deming (陈德铭) wrote in an article that Sino-African bilateral trade had reached a historic record high of 166 billion US dollars.

Foreign ministers, officials in charge of foreign trade, and UN Secretary General Ban Kyi-Moon, as well as the African Union’s outgoing chairman Jean Ping took part in the opening ceremony on Thursday.

From the script of Hu’s speech in full, as published by Phoenix Media (Hong Kong):

China and Africa have cooperatively set up 29 Confucius Institutes or Confucius Classrooms. In a “20+20 cooperation plan”, twenty renowned universities from China and twenty renowned universities from Africa have built relationships between each other. China and Africa help each other in international affairs, united collaboration has become closer, the two sides cooperate closely on issues such as United Nations reform, reacting to climate change, sustainable development, the World Trade Organization’s Doha Round and other major issues, to protect developing countries’ common interests, to promote the democratization of international relations, to promote a direction in the international order which will be fairer and more reasonable.
中非双方合作在22个非洲国家设立了29所孔子学院或孔子课堂。中非20对知名高校在“中非高校20+20合作计划”框架下结为“一对一”合作关系。中非在国际事务中互帮互助、团结协作更加紧密,双方在联合国改革、应对气候变化、可持续发展、世贸组织多哈回合谈判等重大问题上密切配合,维护发展中国家共同利益,促进国际关系民主化,推动国际秩序朝着更加公正合理的方向发展。

[…]

Compared with six years ago, the international situation has changed greatly. Peace, development and cooperation remain the trends of our times, but there are clearly unstable and undetermined factors in the international trends. They remain affected by the global financial crisis, rising and falling international and regional hotspots, and an unfair and unreasonable international political and economic order which still affects and restricts global peace and development. Many developing countries’ development momentum is growing, but also facing difficulties and challenges.
同6年前相比,国际形势又发生了很大变化,和平、发展、合作仍然是时代潮流,但国际形势中不稳定不确定因素明显增多,国际金融危机影响犹存,国际和地区热点此起彼伏,不公正不合理的国际政治经济秩序依然影响和制约着世界和平与发展。广大发展中国家发展势头不断增乾但仍面临很多困难和挑战 。

After remarks of China being the world’s biggest developing country, and Africa consisting of the world’s greatest number of developing countries, as well as words of gratitude for African support in China’s development during the past six decades, Hu stated a number of promises, many of which are mentioned in a report on the BBC Mandarin website.

China also pledged to help in African human-resource training and provides 18,000 government scholarships, as well as dispatching medical staff to Africa, writes the BBC Mandarin website. China would [continue to] help to increase African agricultural technology and to improve individual countries’ customs systems and trade facilitation, Hu is quoted. China would also support African-Union peace-keeping missions, provide financial support for military development [to that end], and provide training for African-Union peace and security staff.

Hu called for a new situation in a Sino-African strategic partnership:

China and Africa should closely coordinate their cooperation in international affairs. We want to jointly protect the UN Charter’s purposes and principles, advocate the democratization of international relations, promote harmonious and balanced global development, oppose bullying of the weak by the strong, the strong bullying the weak, leaning on ones wealth to suppress the poor, we will strengthen discussion and coordination, take care of each others mutual concerns, join hands in reacting to global climate change, food security, sustainable development and other global challenges.
开创中非新型战略伙伴关系新局面,中非应该密切在国际事务中的协调和配合。我们要共同维护《联合国宪章》宗旨和原则,倡导国际关系民主化,推动和谐均衡的全球发展,反对以大欺小、恃强凌弱、倚富压贫,加强磋商和协调,照顾彼此关切,携手应对气候变化、粮食安全、可持续发展等全球性挑战。

People-to-people diplomacy plays a role, too. As the fourth item of five, non-governmental or

people-to-people friendship shall establish a solid public-opinion basis. China proposes to carry out “Sino-African people-to-people friendship actions”, to support and encourage bilateral non-governmental organizations, cooperation in the exchange between women and the young, to create a “Sino-African News Exchange Center” in China, to encourage exchanges and activities between Sino-African bilateral news media people, support the exchange of news people between news organizations of both sides, to continue the implementation of “Sino-African joint research and exchange plan”, and sponsorship of 100 projects of exchange and cooperation between academics and researchers.
第四,增进中非民间友好,为中非共同发展奠定坚实民意基础。中国倡议开展“中非民间友好行动”,支持和促进双方民间团体、妇女、青少年等开展交流合作;在华设立“中非新闻交流中心”,鼓励中非双方新闻媒体人员交流互访,支持双方新闻机构互派记者;继续实施“中非联合研究交流计划”,资助双方学术机构和学者开展100个学术研究、交流合作项目。

Not everything is as smooth as Hu’s speech on Thursday might suggest. Zimbabwe, one of China’s closest allies (and whose president, Robert Mugabe, is definitely more interested in democratization of international relations), is investigating persistent reports of rampant abuse of workers by Chinese employers. But then, the statement came from Zimbabwe’s minister of labor and social welfare, who is a member of the Movement of Democratic Change (MDL) – and the MDL is definitely the weaker half of Zimbabwe’s uneasy “coalition” government between president Mugabe’s cronies and the once oppositional MDL.
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Related

» Enhancing Zhou Enlai’s Convivial Diplomacy, February 20, 2012
» Universal Values, Competing Interests, July 16, 2011
» Namibia’s Vision 2030, March 26, 2010
» Old Comrades never Cheat, Aug 27, 2009
» Is AGOA Good Enough, Aug 5, 2009

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

Zhao Lingmin: Confucius Institutes, and the Three Layers of a Country’s Image

Kungfu, Bremen-Hemelingen (archive)

A Kungfu Institute, for starters (Bremen-Hemelingen – archive)

Nanfang People Weekly (南方人物周刊) is one of the papers published by the Nanfang News Media Group, or Southern Media Group. Other well-known papers would be Nanfang Weekend (Southern Weekend (南方周末), or – daily rather than weekly – Nanfang Ribao. The Nanfang / Southern Daily is an organ of the CCP, on Guangdong’s provincial level, according to Baidu Baike. It was founded on October 23, 1949, and was given the role as the provincial party organ in 1955. Also according to Baike, it has been, for seventeen years in a row, the paper with the highest cirulation among all provincial party papers, with 850,000 copies.

When compared with other papers of its kind – and arguably many commercial papers nationwide, too -, the Nanfang papers reflect the “Guangdong way” – a political approach which the Economist, in November last year, referred to as beguilingly open.

But obviously, even this relative editorial independence doesn’t go without saying. Caixin Media, as quoted by David Bandurski of China Media Project, broke news in early May this year that Yang Jian (杨健), an established propaganda cadre, had been appointed party secretary at the Nanfang Media Group. Papers as attractive as Nanfang Daily and its sisters apparently need to be harnessed for the higher good of cultural production, to defend [the public] against the West’s assault on the country’s culture and ideology. If the lively Nanfang family should die in the process (i. e. become more correct in its public opinion guidance), they will have become martyrs.

In China, soft power is not only about nation branding, but nation building as well. Through using soft power narratives, China is encouraging a domestic cultural revitalization attempting to win the hearts and minds of Chinese diaspora communities and promote national cohesion between dominant and minority groups in the country,

Imran Arshad suggested earlier this year. And as the Nanfang Group, from the CCP perspective, may need to do some long-neglected homework in this field anyway, its specially-appointed contributor Zhao Lingmin (赵灵敏) – specially appointed probably because he reportedly lost his official function at Nanfang Chuang, another Nanfang paper, in 2011 -, studied soft-power’s relationship with the Confucius Institutes, in an article published by Nanfang People Weekly on June 1.

Links within the following blockquotes were added during translation – JR
Main Link: Nanfang Renwu Zhoukan, June 1, 2012

Confucius Institutes and Soft Power

June 1, 2012

Soft Power’s “Softness” and Bounteousness, with Hard Sell Blossoming Everywhere, is Inopportune
软实力的“软”和不惜金钱、遍地开花式的硬销是格格不入的

The article first notes that while a U.S. State-Department notice concerning Confucius-Institute teaching staff’s visa had since been corrected, the controversy centering around the Confucius Institutes was far from over.

On November 21, 2004, China’s first overseas “Confucius Institute” put its store sign up in South Korea. By the end of August, 2011, 353 Confucius Institutes and 473 Confucius Classrooms had been established in various countries – a total of 826. In America alone, there are 81 of them. To carry the work of the Confucius Institutes out even better, the Confucius Institutes headquarters were established in Beijing, in 2006. The “Confucius Institutes” are seen as embodiments of China’s government to promote soft power globally.
2004年11月21日,中国第一所海外“孔子学院”在韩国挂牌。截至2011年8月底,各国已建立353所孔子学院和473个孔子课堂,共计826所。 仅美国就有81所孔子学院。为了更好地运作孔子学院,2006年,孔子学院总部在北京成立。“孔子学院”被视为中国政府向世界推广“软实力”的体现。

Currently, every sixth day will see the birth of a Confucius Institute somewhere on the globe. A German organization which is similar to the Confucius Institute, the Goethe Institute, founded in 1951, currently has 144 institutes, and adds only three more annually, on average. Spain’s Cervantes Institute was founded in 1991, and has only thirty institutes so far, adding only two annually, on average. According to official reports, the foundation of each Confucius Institute costs 500,000 US dollars, and each Confucius Classroom comes at 60,000 US dollars. Mr Xue Yong (薛涌) estimates that a Confucius Institute established in America costs at least several million US dollars. After the Confucius Institutes’ and Classrooms’ establishment, these also need to be operated. The [expected ? – 光] budget for Confucius Institutes reached 1.6 billion in 2008; a number which is likely to have risen since, year by year. According to domestic logic, it would seem as if the tasks of building this or that number of schools had been completed already, and that China’s values had already been transported. But that isn’t necessarily so.
目前,几乎每6天世界上就会诞生一所孔子学院。而与孔子学院相类似的机构中,德国歌德学院始建立于1951年,目前共有144所,平均每年只办3所,西班牙塞万提斯学院创办于1991年,至今仅有三十多所,平均每年仅两所。根据官方报道,每所孔子学院建设费用50万美元,每个孔子课堂6万美元。根据薛涌先生估算,在美国建一所“孔子学院”起码要几百万美元。学院和课堂建成后还需要运营。2008年孔子学院光预算就高达16亿,近些年应该是一年更比一年多。依据国内的逻辑,花了多少多少钱,建成了多少多少学校,好像就完成任务了,中国价值观已经输出了,实际效果却不尽然。

According to the Hanban’s terminology, all Confucius Institutes were founded on foreign universities’ own requests. The procedure is that applications are written to Hanban, that China’s hanban would provide assistance and operation. Therefore, “Confucius Institute” deans are, without exception, foreigners. Most of them are foreign university Sinology faculty directors, or people of similar backgrounds. Isn’t it easy to see why, given their titles as “Confucius Institute deans”, they’d take up the mission of promoting the Chinese language, and spreading Chinese culture? What the director of Düsseldorf’s Confucius Institute, [Hahebao – this should be a German name – JR], says may be indicative: “At the current stage, China amounts to spreading money to the entire globe, and that’s why local universities cooperate with the Confucius Institutes – mainly to get these fundings. After taking the money, they themselves will operate language classes and lectures, etc. Most of them have no long-term educational plan, and nobody seems to be sure what the hanban’s actual goals are.”
按照汉办的说法,所有的孔子学院是国外的大学自己要求办的,程序是向中国汉办提出申请,由中国汉办给予协助而开办的。因此“孔子学院”的院长无一例外地都是由外国人担任的,他们大都是国外大学中文系或东亚系主任之类的人物。难道给他们一个“孔子学院院长”的头衔,他们就会担当起“向自己国家推广汉语、传播中国文化的使命”吗?德国杜塞道夫孔子学院院长哈赫堡的话可能有代表性:“现阶段中国等于把钱撒到全世界,当地大学之所以合作办孔子学院,主要是为了得到这一笔经费,拿到钱后自己办语言班和演讲等活动,大多数人并没有长远的教育计划,而且大家都不清楚‘汉办’到底想要达到什么目标。”

A fundamental error lies in just the [Confucius-Institute] and other foreign propaganda activities which spare no expense, believing that China’s current image isn’t satisfactory because the degree of propaganda weren’t sufficient – that therefore, propaganda needed to be intensified, so that when power and influence are great, when the reports are many, and translated into several foreign languages, the image will be good. This is a typically Chinese way of thinking, [but] in Western societies, where information is amply revealed, this won’t work. A country’s image includes three layers: what you say, how you say it, and the gap between what you say and what you do. An insufficient degree of propaganda is the second layer, and would be comparatively easy to correct. The bigger problem is the gap between words and deeds.
这样不惜代价地搞孔子学院和其他对外宣传活动,一个根本的误区在于,认为中国目前的国家形象不令人满意是因为宣传力度不够,所以要加大宣传,认为声势大、报道多、翻译成多种外文就能有好形象。这是典型的中国人自己的思维方式,在信息充分披露的西方社会是行不通的。国家的形象包括3个层次:说什么、怎么说以及言行之间的差距。宣传力度不够是第二个层次,也相对比较容易改正。更大的问题在于说什么和言行之间的距离。

According to Joseph Nye, soft power is about inspiration and attractiveness, which means that you “subdue the enemy without fighting”. The “softness” and unsparing expenses of soft power, with Hard Sell Blossoming Everywhere, is Inopportune. America is the strongest country worldwide, in terms of soft power, its global cultural influence reaches everywhere. Many people want to go to America, no matter the cost, no matter the risks. But America has no propaganda department, no Culture Ministry, and certainly no organizations like the Confucius Institutes, to promote its culture and values, but relies on the attractiveness that comes from within American culture, which are automatically chosen by people.
按照约瑟夫•奈的说法,软实力主要是一种感召力和吸引力,有点“不战而屈人之兵”的意思。软实力的“软”和不惜金钱、遍地开花式的硬销是格格不入的。美国是当今世界软实力最强的国家,美国文化的影响在世界上无远弗届,很多人不惜代价、不惧风险、翻山越岭要去美国。但美国既没有宣传部,也没有文化部,更没有设立类似孔子学院这样的机构来推销自己的文化和价值,而更多的是靠美国文化内在的吸引力和人们的自动选择。

Therefore, things aren’t as simple as to “increase propaganda” in order to increase soft power. What matters more is what is actually propagandized. Without original thought, and mere recitals of some doctrines, the effects will rather probably be counter-productive. Years ago, Margaret Thatcher frankly stated that “China won’t become a superpower, because it doesn’t have that doctrine that could promote China’s power, and weaken the spread of our Western doctrines. China only exports television sets, and no ideas“. This is probably China’s biggest obstacle in raising its soft power and its image.
所以,提升软实力,不仅仅是“加大对外宣传力度”这么简单,更重要的是宣传什么,没有原创性的思想,只是背诵某些教条,效果很可能适得其反。撒切尔夫人前几年曾放言的——“中国不会成为超级大国,因为中国没有那种可以用来推进自己的权力、从而削弱我们西方国家的具有国际传播影响的学说。今天中国出口的是电视机而不是思想观念。”——恐怕是中国提升软实力和国家形象的最大障碍。

To a certain degree, China’s citizens will shape its image. Governmental PR and remarks can’t replace citizens’ individual behavior, and won’t be able to shape the image of the individual. A person’s understanding of the outside world is inevitably overgeneralized, and general judgment will come from specific people and issues. Therefore, every individual’s interaction with the outside world participates in shaping our national image. When you come to a country and find fresh air, an intact environment, and amicable people, these perceptions will create a good impression of that country [in your mind]. It may take nine travel groups who leave a good impression, to correct the bad impression left by one travel group. In that sense, the fundamentals for improving an image abroad are within the country.
中国的形象某种程度上是由中国公民直接塑造的,政府的公关和言辞无法代替公民个人的行为,也无法塑造个人的形象。一个人对外部世界的认识难免以偏概全,总是通过具体的人和事来下总体判断。所以,每个人的对外交往都是在塑造国家的形象。一个人到了一个国家,发现这里空气清新、环境整洁、人民友善,直观上就会对这个国家产生好印象。而一个旅行团的不良印象可能需要9个旅行团的好印象来纠正。从这个意义上讲,提升对外形象的根本还在国内。

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Related

» Soft Power starts at Home, Jan 21, 2012

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Monday, May 28, 2012

The London School of Economics…

… is reportedly going to publish “a new and comprehensive ethics code” in June.  In a submission of May 11, Christopher Hughes, an LSE professor, warned that the school must avoid retreating on its commitment to reform its ethical approach. The LSE’s acceptance of about £400,000 from the Communist regime showed it had failed to learn from the scandal after it accepted a pledge of £1.5m from Saif al-Islam Gadaffi, son of the late Libyan dictator. Gaddafi jr’s pledge had led to former LSE director Howard Davies‘ resignation.

At the time however, the Gaddafi clan had become an increasingly unlikely source for future funding.

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