Cambridge University has disbanded the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) after controversy surrounding the election of a new President which implicates the Chinese embassy.

Ms. Chang Feifan, President of CSSA - the largest Chinese society in Cambridge, announced in July that she would continue into a second term without an election.

Many members of the society opposed such a move and reported it to the Proctors of the University.

The University made a request to CSSA to submit their constitution to be reviewed so that it could be decided whether the move was within the rules that govern the society.

The deadline for submission of the constitution was October 1st however, Ms Feifan refused to do so and so CSSA has lost its association to the University.

The Chinese Embassy is accused of advising Ms Feifan to continue her leadership without election. Students and insiders of CSSA say the Chinese Embassy has a large influence on the society.

Speaking to the Epoch Times, Mr. Li Guiha, Ph.D., who worked at Cambridge for a number of years, said: “The embassy is controlling the Student Association, this is a well known secret.”

“At first the embassy needed to mobilize people to run for office. But recently, especially after [former CCP head] Jiang Zemin visited Cambridge in October 1999, and then [premier] Wen Jiabao came in February 2009, the CSSA-CAM president got to meet mainland leaders, the media, and established other connections, and also obtained economic benefits, so many people competed to run for president,” Li said.

“However, during a general election, the embassy is now afraid candidates will openly criticize the mistakes of the former president. This will directly harm interests of the embassy, so the embassy tried to stop them,” Li said.

This association with the Chinese Embassy may be due to a long-standing tradition. A letter received by Varsity said: "Feifan is determined to adhere to Chinese tradition. She said that her team will work closely with Chinese government and the embassy for the benefit of Chinese student community in Cambridge and UK and also for the benefit of local and international students interested in China."

In order to re-register CSSA with the University of Cambridge, Feifan has agreed to hold an election for the leadership of the society. The election took place on 2nd December with Lubin Chen being elected with a majority of 171 votes, while Feifan Chang came third with 65 votes.

Speaking anonymously to the Epoch Times, an insider within CSSA said: “There are quite a few who support Chang Feifan. They believe as long as the student association can bring everyone material interests, like frequent trips and paid dinner parties, they will vote for whoever can provide the benefits.

“Recently, to win the election, Chang Feifan has often spent money to take people out to eat formal dinners, paying for dozens or up to one hundred people. According to the regulations, this is all against the election rules, and counts as bribery.

“Even though many of the students have been willing to accept Chang’s dinners, this insider says the controversy over the election has changed how some of the students think. They realize this is not a small incident.”

But supporters of Feifan argue that the other competitiors for the post have not been playing by the rules. In a statement, they said: "Throughout the election, they didn’t stop accusing Feifan by using bad campaigning tactics, but even stronger [sic]. Chinese students in Cambridge are getting well aware of who is using bad and illegal tactics.

"First they [the other competitiors] hacked CSSA account and used it as a propaganda tool against Feifan. All sorts of similar articles of accusation in different print and internet media were hired to be flooded overnight as it gets close to the re-election date, including Fa Lu Gong’s newspaper."

The story has received large coverage throughout China after being reported in Southern Weekly, the largest-circulation weekly in mainland China.