Whistleblower suspended

July 26, 2002

A Dutch academic who wrote a report exposing fraud and corruption in the overseas recruitment of Chinese students has been suspended by his university.

The Polytechnic University of Leeuwaarden (NHL) did not object to the content of the 50-page report. But it was angered by the fact that the academic used the university logo on the document.

William Knoester-Doeve, senior lecturer in business and information technology, became concerned about fraudulent practices on a visit to Shanghai to recruit students for a business management course.

These involved charging for fake diplomas and non-existent courses abroad.

Mr Knoester-Doeve's report was the result of a six-month inquiry into recruitment rackets run by Chinese agencies, which charge students thousands of pounds to be enrolled in colleges overseas.

Often students find that the course they have enrolled on does not exist, or that the accommodation and residency permits included in the package never materialise.

Mr Knoester-Doeve emailed his report, Fagin and Scrooge: Dickens Revisited or a Shanghai Story of Lawlessness, Corruption and Fraud , to newspapers and television stations in the Netherlands and China.

Mr Knoester-Doeve said he regretted using his university's logo but disagrees that he should have consulted the NHL about the content of his report.

He stands by his allegations and points to the warnings about unscrupulous agencies being issued by the Chinese government to parents considering sending their children overseas to study.

The matter is being investigated by the university board. The NHL said it "could not provide information" on legal matters regarding employees.

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