Businessmen with close links with the ruling Chinese Communist Party are purchasing British schools to increase their influence, revealed Daily Mail newspaper. Their report states that the investors have already bought 17 schools and the numbers are all set to increase to the financial constraint face by the school managements due to the COVID-19 situation.
The investigation by the newspaper reveals:
• Nine of the 17 schools under Chinese control are owned by firms whose founders or bosses are among China’s most senior Communist Party members;
• Princess Diana’s preparatory school is owned by a Chinese group that openly trades on her name;
• Schools are using educational tools for teaching children a ‘whitewashed’ view of China;
• One firm admitted its acquisition of British schools is aimed at supporting China’s controversial Belt And Road strategy, which aims to expand Beijing’s global influence.
Chinese firms had purchased three schools, including Abbots Bromley School near Lichfield, Staffordshire, which had been forced to close its doors in 2019. Another organisation, Bright Scholar, which bought a number of schools and colleges in 2018 and 2019, include Bournemouth Collegiate School, St Michael’s School in Llanelli, Carmarthenshire – where Justice Secretary Robert Buckland and singer Cerys Matthews were once pupils – and Bosworth Independent College in Northampton.
Another company, Ray Education Group, bought Adcote School for Girls near Shrewsbury, Shropshire, and Myddelton College in Denbigh, Wales, in 2018.
On its website, Ray Education details the plan to use its British schools to help expand to other countries as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt And Road strategy to boost China’s global economic and political influence.
Under the heading ‘international market’, Ray Education says it is relying on British brand schools and responding to the Belt And Road call [of the Chinese government]’ to target expansion in ‘Malaysia, United Arab Emirates, Thailand, South Africa, Nigeria and other countries.