Scottish universities have been urged to review their hosting of Confucius Institutes after Stockholm University became the latest western organisation to cut ties with the Beijing-backed language schools.
Campaigners say pressure to toe the Chinese government line on topics such as Tibet and Taiwan makes the institutes incompatible with academic freedom.
Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Glasgow and Strathclyde universities host Confucius Institutes, with a fifth due to open at Heriot-Watt. Strathclyde also has a dedicated unit to promote Mandarin in schools.
Mandarin is gaining popularity in Scottish secondary schools, with more than 300 pupils taking exams last year, amid a general decline in other languages.
Conservative MSP Alex Johnstone said he was worried an “infrastructure” was developing in Scotland to push the Chinese state’s interests to the exclusion of other views. “Scottish politicians need to think seriously about what is going on at Confucius Institutes and what we need to do so things don’t go in the wrong direction,” Mr Johnstone told The Herald.
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