Chinese university to open in Oxford despite ideological crackdown at home | UK news


One of China’s top universities is preparing to open a campus at the heart of British academic life, just months after President Xi Jinping called for Chinese universities to be transformed into strongholds of Communist party rule.

Peking University, an elite Beijing institution where Mao Zedong once worked as a librarian, will open a branch of its HSBC Business School in Oxford early next year, the respected financial magazine Caixin reported on Thursday.

The school is setting up camp in Foxcombe Hall which it recently purchased for a reported £8.8m. The 19th century manor was home to the eighth earl of Berkeley.

Peking University said courses at its Oxford campus, which is not connected to the University of Oxford, would focus on “professional knowledge of China’s economy, financial market and corporate management”.

Wen Hai, its dean, said Peking University had beaten off competition from three rivals, including an unnamed Oxford college, by offering a “very tempting price” that left the sellers “little room to say ‘no’’”.

Speaking to Caixin, Wen said the university had been able to do so thanks to its close ties to China’s Communist party. Those connections allowed it to “to expedite the transfer of money transfer needed for the acquisition” despite tight capital controls imposed by Beijing in an attempt to stop firms and citizens shifting large sums of money overseas.

Last summer’s vote to leave the EU, which has seen the pound plummet against the Chinese yuan, will also have helped the buyers.

Peking University will open a campus at Foxcombe Hall, a 19th century manor that was home to the eighth earl of Berkeley. Photograph: peking university hsbc business…

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