The Centre will now be funded by the CollegeTimur Rakhimov

Jesus College will rename their China Centre to counter concerns over its purpose and activities, the College has announced (30/5).

In a statement, the College said the Centre would be renamed the China Forum and funded directly by the College for better oversight.

The Centre, founded in 2016, currently receives funding from the Cambridge China Development Trust. But a review by a group of academics highlighted concerns over its “avoidance of controversial topics” including the political situation in Hong Kong and the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang.

The new China Forum will instead be funded directly by the College in the next academic year to prevent conflicts of interest.

Changes also include a new management team and the appointment of three China scholars from the University to oversee the Forum.

The review also found that Peter Nolan’s dual position as the Centre’s director and trustee of the Cambridge China Development Trust risked “conflicts of interest.”


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Nolan received criticism in 2021 for saying that a debate on Uighur Muslims in China should have “both views represented”. He also said that by hosting a debate “the college will be perceived as being a campaigning college for… freedom for the Weiwu’ers [Uighurs].”

The review also highlighted concerns from Jesus alumni about the College’s “inconsistency or even hypocrisy” over the removal of the Tobias Rustat memorial in the College’s chapel.

Alumni had argued that the China Centre appeared to be “turning a blind eye to the treatment of the Uighurs in Xinjiang” while the College was trying to remove the memorial due to Rustat’s involvement with the slave trade.

The College’s master, Sonita Alleyne said: “The world has changed dramatically since the China Centre was established in 2016, which is why the College’s Council commissioned this detailed review and why we are taking the recommendations forward immediately.

“We will change the China Forum’s funding model and make its aims and funding fully transparent, so the forum can continue its highly regarded scholarly seminar series.”