Jesus college

Jesus College plots overhaul of its China Centre

During the past two years Jesus College has been a regular in the newspaper headlines. The Cambridge University college was last month found to have accepted cash from a ‘very high risk’ Chinese university for research into China’s prime tool of foreign influence. It came after a string of stories which contrasted the willingness of Jesus to accept donations from controversial Chinese sources with its efforts to remove a historic memorial linked to the slave trade from its chapel. Now though, it seems that the college has been moved to act. According to an email seen by The Spectator, ‘following a detailed review by a panel of Fellows, the college has

Why Falklanders should fear China

In a lecture I recently gave to mark the approaching 40th anniversary of the Falklands War, one of the questions I asked was whether Argentina would have another go. I concluded it would not, because the military protection of the islands, neglected in 1982, was now strong. In passing, though, I did note that China now has a close relationship with Argentina, over arms trading, the hog industry, soybeans, help with the pandemic etc. Argentina, I said, was now likelier to support China, not the West, in international forums. This week, Xi Jinping has declared his support for Argentina’s claim to ‘the full exercise of sovereignty’ over the islands. This

Letters: What happened to bells on bikes?

Jesus wept Sir: Sam Dunning’s brilliant exposure of the corrupting links between Jesus College, Cambridge and the Chinese Communist party (‘Centre of attention’, 5 February) raises the question of how the college can be rescued from its current leaders. Their virtue-signalling gestures (the Benin bronze, the Rustat memorial etc) have already prompted many of us alumni to delete Jesus from our wills. But this association with vile tyranny is altogether more serious. Perhaps an academic boycott might bring the Master and Fellowship to their senses. Certainly something must be done to save this ancient Christian foundation from its present role as an agent and support of manifest evil. Francis Bown

Why Jesus College shouldn’t have returned its Benin bronze

Jesus College Cambridge can claim a world first. It is the first institution, at least in the twenty-first century, to return a so-called Benin Bronze because it was looted in a British punitive raid in 1897 on the historic Kingdom of Benin, now part of the territory of Nigeria. The College’s Master Sonita Alleyne has today handed over its Okukor – a brass statue of a cockerel that took pride of place in the college’s dining hall peering over generations of students – to Nigeria’s National Commission for Museums and Monuments. Germany announced in May that its public museums would return their hundreds of Benin artefacts; Dan Hicks — Curator

Will Samuel Pepys be cancelled next?

A seemingly obscure battle in an ecclesiastical court could threaten the security of every historic monument in the care of the Church of England. As reported in this column last year, Jesus College, Cambridge, is trying to extirpate the memorials (while keeping the money) of its greatest historic benefactor, Tobias Rustat. Rustat was a loyal servant of King Charles II who helped him escape from the battle of Worcester, looked after him in exile, and became his Yeoman of the Robes after the Restoration. He also gave huge sums to Jesus (as to St John’s, Oxford, the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, St Paul’s Cathedral and the University of Cambridge). His sin

China has a friend in Jesus

Last week, I wrote about ‘Frost & Lewis’ (David and Oliver), leaders of our country’s team at the Brexit negotiations, guarantors of our Brexit intentions. It is they who have throughout maintained the essential position — that we are becoming an independent state and therefore will not trade sovereignty for market access. It is them, therefore, whom the EU wishes to neutralise. Hopes have risen in Brussels after the Downing Street ‘Carrie coup’ against Dominic Cummings. Frost & Lewis now lack a close friend at the court of King Boris except, possibly, the King himself. So it may be a good thing that Covid isolation forced them to return to

Letters: The limitations of a Covid vaccine

Still distant Sir: In James Forsyth’s analysis (‘Boris’s booster shot’, 14 November) he infers that a vaccine, if provided to the majority of the UK population, would deliver herd immunity from Covid-19, noting that ‘it seems increasingly probable that by the second half of next year, we will be emerging from this Covid nightmare’. I pray that he is right, though fear he may not be. In a recent Lancet editorial the view expressed was the exact opposite, as it notes that any vaccines are ‘unlikely’ to prevent transmission, though will reduce the severity of symptoms and likelihood of death. Critically, if transmission cannot be stopped via vaccine, in the

Charles Moore

Are our churches safe from Justin Welby?

‘Frost & Lewis’. It sounds like a programme amalgamating two of the most famous TV detectives. The former diplomat, Lord (David) Frost, is our chief Brexit negotiator and Oliver Lewis, an expert on the Irish aspects, is his right-hand man. Until recently, they were simply considered the two best men for the job. Since the departure of Dominic Cummings, they have acquired a political role too. Close colleagues of Cummings who did not walk out with him, they stayed to Get Brexit Done, so they act as reassurance to anxious Brexiteers that the government will not throw in the sponge. Their staying also implies a threat. Dom has said he

The strangeness of voting in the Lords from my bed

Having only recently entered the House of Lords, I must tread with caution, but I had always understood that it is chiefly a revising chamber. By strong convention, it does not reject legislation arising from the election manifesto of the party victorious in the House of Commons. Yet on Monday night, faced with the Internal Market Bill (which helps provide for a full Brexit), it attempted no revision at all. The House was sitting in committee, whose very purpose is revision, but the anti-government majority was on such a high horse that it happily let an amendment from critics of the government fall. It refused to engage. A key feature

Jesus College’s China problem

Although Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of Cambridge University, is committed to openness, it is a struggle to get information out of him about his university’s dealings with the Chinese Communist party. He has declined an interview, and when I raised questions about Jesus College’s China Centre and other China links, which he has publicly backed, he replied that ‘You cited one very specific initiative, organised by one of our 31 colleges, with a very narrow thematic focus’. I wrote back with further questions, but he says he is ‘not able to add anything to my earlier remark about Jesus College’. I also wrote to Sonita Alleyne, the Master of Jesus, who

Cambridge University is kowtowing to China

Last month, writing elsewhere, I quoted the website of the China Centre at Jesus College, Cambridge: ‘Under the leadership of the Communist party of China since 1978, [China] has experienced an extraordinary transformation… China’s national rejuvenation is returning the country to the position within the global political economy that it occupied before the 19th century.’ The tone sounded propagandist not academic. This month, all mention of the Chinese Communist party disappeared from the China Centre home page. Now the Centre says it concentrates on ‘mutual understanding between China and the West’, contributing to ‘harmonious global governance’, which should be ‘non-ideological and pragmatic’. We must meet ‘global challenges’ together, says Jesus