VUB to end cooperation with Confucius Institute

The board of Brussels Dutch-medium Free University (VUB) has decided not to extend a cooperation agreement with the Confucius Institute once the current contact comes to an end in June 2020. In a statement released on Wednesday morning, the VUB says that the cooperation with the Confucius Institute is no longer aligned to the university’s policies and aims.  

The cooperation between the VUB and the Confucius Institute has been a source of discussion for some time and has been the subject of both external and internal analysis on the part of the university. However, recent media reports have brought things to a head and led to the cooperation becoming an issue for discussion by the VUB’s board.

At the end of October the Confucius Institute was caught in the eye of storm when it emerged that its former Chinese Director Xining Song has been banned from the Schengen Zone by the State Security Service.

In a statement released by the Rector of the VUB Caroline Pauwels said “The VUB will only cooperate with other institution if this is done of the basis of the principles of freedom of research. With this in mind the Board has decided that cooperation with the Confucius Institute no longer conforms to the current policy aims and consequently it will not be extended”.

The students currently studying Chinees language and literature at the university will be able to finish their courses and the VUB says that it will look to find a solution for the teaching staffing that are currently paid for by the Confucius Institute.  

The university is keen to stress that it remains open for cooperation with Chinese universities, scientists and students on condition that academic freedom and independence and mutual respect can be guaranteed.


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