Over the coming years, WUR aims to continue its collaboration with Chinese research partners on the basis of equality. In order to fortify this basis, WUR has formulated the “Guidelines for WUR business in China”. These guidelines are to prevent research from becoming related to human rights violations and facial recognition systems.
In the future, all WUR-researchers must report their research with and in China to WUR’s China-Platform. The research group’s business developers are responsible for carrying out a preliminary check to see whether the project poses a potential risk to WUR. In case of doubt or questions, they can consult a legal and financial expert within their sciences group.
In cases involving reputation risks, WUR uses the WUR integrity code, which states that Wageningen researchers are required to protect research data and to be honest, diligent, transparent, independent and responsible. WUR also checks whether the potential Chinese partner is affiliated with the Chinese armed forces, facial recognition programmes or human rights violations. In such cases, the China-Platform and the WUR executive board assess whether, and if so, in what form, the research can go ahead as planned.
The guidelines stem from questions from researchers on the legal and financial ramifications of collaborative contracts with China, says Xiaoyong Zhang, China coordinator for WUR. Researchers wanted to know how to formulate a contract in such a way that the mutual responsibilities and the payment details for the Chinese contribution to WUR were clearly detailed. This check is also needed to assess the Chinese partners’ credit rating and to determine whether partners can collaborate directly with WUR and transfer money into WUR accounts. WUR consults a database that records the financial performance and reputation of Chinese businesses.
In recent years, there is growing criticism on partnerships with China, as the Chinese government might use western technology to repress Uighurs and keep tabs on the local population. WUR has not collaborated with partners involved in such activities over the past years, says Zhang. The check on these ethical and political issues has now been formalised and extended.
You will find the China Guidelines on WUR’s intranet.