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Statement in response to NOS report

19 January 2022
Statement in response to NOS report 'China finances human rights research at VU Amsterdam'.

Today, the Dutch Broadcasting Foundation (NOS) published an article about the financing by a Chinese university of a centre affiliated with VU Amsterdam that conducts research into human rights, the Cross Cultural Human Rights Centre. The article raises the question whether the centre can conduct independent research with funding from China. It also quotes a number of employees who seem to downplay the situation in Xingjang.

According to the NOS, the university would stand behind the course of events. However, this is not the case. For VU Amsterdam, universal human rights and the independence of our researchers are unconditional core values. The combination of funding from China for research into human rights, some statements from employees of the institute in (international) media and insufficient contextualisation of statements on the website has, understandably, created doubts about this independence. The University emphasises that even the 'appearance' of dependence on the research is unacceptable and it will take appropriate measures, including stopping and/or repaying the Chinese funding. It will also investigate whether the independence of the institute's research has been guaranteed on all fronts.