Part of TU/e's Chinese community wants Cursor to withdraw article

An article published by Cursor last week about Volt Eindhoven’s concern that Chinese students are being pressured into stealing knowledge, has caused a great deal of commotion among members of TU/e’s Chinese community. Students and staff members demand that Cursor withdraw the article, which they deem discriminatory and racist, from its website. That demand was also made in an email sent to Education and Student Affairs on behalf of some sixty members of TU/e’s Chinese community.

photo Dmytro Varavin / iStock

The article that caused such a stir among certain members of TU/e’s Chinese community was published by Cursor on Thursday, October the 20th. It describes the actual events that took place within the Eindhoven municipal council over the past weeks.

Local party Volt Eindhoven put questions to the municipal executive some weeks ago about how Chinese students are being pressured into stealing knowledge from the university and companies where they serve an internship. Volt Eindhoven’s faction leader Jacco Rubenkamp had been told by a Chinese TU/e student from Hong Kong that she had been approached on her cellphone, and that she had received a letter sent to her home address. Rubenkamp says to have seen the letter. The student heard similar stories from various other students in her network. Volt Eindhoven expressed its concern over the safety of these students and wanted to know whether the municipal executive was aware of this threat. Mayor Jeroen Dijsselbloem addressed Rubenkamp’s questions on October 11 during the Eindhoven municipal council meeting (starting at minute 32).


At the beginning of this week, Cursor started to receive requests via email from Chinese students for the withdrawal of the article from its website. The article is racist and discriminatory, according to the submitters of the requests. On Wednesday, October 26, Cursor received an email that had first been sent to Education and Student Affairs (ESA) on behalf of sixty Chinese TU/e students and staff members.

The authors of the mail also request that Cursor withdraw the article, but they also request an ‘official apology’ to the ‘minority group of Chinese students at TU/e.’ In the mail, the claim is made that it appears that the article was ‘meant to protect students, but that the decision to publish the article only caused harm to the entire Chinese community.’ The authors of the email say that the article quotes an ‘unverified source’ and contains ‘misleading titles’ that are implicitly discriminatory to Chinese and even Asian students. ‘This is irresponsible and unacceptable for everyone who treasures the core values of TU/e,’ it says in the mail.

The article’s headline is said to be misleading because it links Chinese students to ‘stealing knowledge,’ it says in the email that was sent to ESA. The mail continues: ‘Students who have not read the article thoroughly, they can see this title everywhere in TU/e campus (on the screens in the buildings and in the hall of MetaForum, ed.), it caused an unconscious discrimination against all Chinese students, as it implicitly implies that every Chinese student might be 'stealing knowledge' and 'spying' in TU/e. (…) We take offense by such open discrimination broadcasting in the surrounding area of TU/e that we are striving to work with.’ The headline on the screens read: ‘Concern Volt Eindhoven about pressure Chinese students.’

Volt Eindhoven

The authors have as of yet not responded to Cursor’s statement that the article describes actual events that occurred in the Eindhoven municipal council. Cursor also informed the authors that they are welcome to leave a response below the article, or to send an open letter.

Faction leader Jacco Rubenkamp of Volt Eindhoven informed Cursor that the board of his party has received similar messages from Chinese TU/e students. Rubenkamp: “I’ve told the board that I would like to respond personally via email. I will explain in my response that I received these signals, that I considered them carefully, that I asked the sender about these signals and subsequently acted in a manner befitting an elected representative.” He also says that he regrets the fact that this issue caused such a stir among members of the Chinese TU/e community. “It was never my intention to brand every Chinese student a potential spy.”

Cursor contacted one of the signatories of the ESA mail and wants to sit down with a delegation from this group early next week to discuss the matter. Rubenkamp has indicated that he would like to take part in the meeting.

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