Believe it or not, but in the bygone years there have been many Chinese companies who have bought American campuses. A controversy recently rose, when one of the Chinese firms Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Company that was previously known as Jiangsu Bridge Steel Structure Company, showed its interest in buying off a nonprofit American music college – Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J affiliated to Rider’s University.
Several suits to block the sale have been filed so far, with the recent one being last month. The recent one seeking the block was on behalf of members of the Westminster Foundation, a group of alumni, donors and faculty. Their take is that “Rider is violating the terms of the original bequest of land for the college and the intent of the donors who have sustained the institution by selling it to Kaiwen for $40 million”.
This is because Kaiwen the buy is a for profit corporation that owns two schools of the K-12 stature in China, but has no experience of running an institution on the higher education front. The second argument foraged by the group of members was that, the controlling shareholder as found from the documents filed with the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, is of a Chinese state-owned entity.
“This American college will be taken over by a corporation that is owned and controlled by the government of China, which does not recognize any degree of academic freedom and which has a state policy subordinating colleges to governmental and Communist Party principles. It is diametrically contrary to the understanding of an American institution of higher education,” said Bruce Afran, lawyers for the plaintiffs.