Fears arose last month that the Chinese government is covertly attempting to buy influence at Cambridge University with a large donation whose organiser has close ties to Beijing. The Telegraph now reports that news of the controversy has been deleted from Chinese websites, deepening suspicion of the mysterious donor, the Chong Hua Foundation.
Prof Nolan is known to have a plethora of high-level government contacts in China. His former students include Liu Chunhang, the son-in-law of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister, who is now a senior figure in China’s financial regulatory authorities.
Prof Nolan, who has refused to comment on the donation, is also believed to have taught Mr Wen’s daughter Wen Ruchun and several other prominent figures in the Chinese political establishment ….
The removal of all references to Chong Hua even applied to Prof Nolan’s supporters, according to Yao Shujie, a Chinese scholar at Nottingham University who posted a blog in Chinese on three separate portals in China defending Cambridge’s decision to accept the donation.
“My blog was taken down,” he confirmed to The Telegraph, “I re-posted it, but it was again deleted and I was asked not to re-post the material. I did not even criticise the donation, but argued that Britain should accept such funding, but it was still removed.”
Should the donation’s opponents prevail, it may mark the lowest point in Sino-Cambridge relations since 2009, when a German student threw a shoe at Wen Jiabao during a speech there.