US scholarship sparks concerns about instigation in China

By Bai Tiantian Source:Global Times Published: 2017/5/18 21:48:40

A scholarship program being offered by the US State Department that aims to recruit civil society leaders has sparked controversy in Chinese cyberspace, with many suspecting that the program is meant to cultivate infiltrators or even incite a "Color Revolution" in China.

The US Embassy in China on Tuesday announced on its offical Sina Weibo account that the US State Department is offering a unique opportunity to leaders of contemporary civil society to participate in a 12- to 18-month scholarship program in the US.

The announcement said participants will be assigned to leading US social reform organizations. It said that applicants must have at least two years of work experience in social-related issues, have a bachelor's degree and a certain level of fluency in English.

One Net user commented that the program openly cultivates dailudang - traitors who lead foreign troops into a foreign country when invading. Another Net user said the US is eyeing another 'Color Revolution.'

Asked to comment on the Weibo post and the negative response, the US Embassy said in an email sent to the Global Times on Thursday that "the US and China have a long history of supporting people-to-people exchanges between our two countries on a range of issues."

"Each year, both governments facilitate and sponsor people-to-people exchanges to the benefit of both of our countries," it said.

An expert who requested anonymity told the Global Times on Thursday that the US may wish to cultivate ties with people who may contend with the current authorities in the future.

He noted that China and the US have very different ways of interpreting "civil society leaders."

"It's a long-term practice of US diplomacy, which clearly has a political agenda. Given what the US has done in some countries, China has reasons to stay alert," the expert noted.

Posted in: SOCIETY

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