The London School of Economics is suspending plans for a proposed China program after opposition from academics, the Financial Times reported. The proposed program was to be funded by a venture capitalist, Eric Li, who has defended the Chinese government policies in talks and op-eds in international newspapers. Li has written that alternatives to the Tiananmen Square crackdown “would have been far worse” and the “resulting stability ushered in a generation of growth and prosperity.”
“The fact that senior figures in the school have reached an advanced stage in negotiating a donation from an individual who prides himself on being an advocate of China’s authoritarian system shows that the school’s existing procedures for protecting our core values and reputation are inadequate,” Chris Hughes, a professor of international relations at LSE, said in a letter to school leaders.
The proposed program would have funded research and new undergraduate and graduate courses on Chinese economics, politics and society.
“LSE has regular discussions about potential new programs or partnerships which will strengthen our research, teaching and public engagement,” an LSE spokesperson said. “Following consultation with colleagues, initial plans for a China program have been put on hold.”
Li did not respond to a request for comment from the Financial Times.