Rumor has it that he was a spy in the pay of the Chinese. He smiles today. Alain Le Gall was dean of the Faculty of Law of Brest, and vice-president of the University of Western Brittany (UBO). And also president and founder of the Confucius Institute (IC) of the city, in 2010, hosted at UBO.
This Chinese association present throughout the world (21 Institutes and branches in France, including three in Brittany, Rezé (Nantes), Rennes and Brest) and whose stated goal is to “share the Chinese language and culture”, is accused of all evils in recent years: nest of spies, rewriting of history favorable to China, pressure to prevent any expression on sensitive subjects (Taiwan, Tibet, the Uyghurs, etc.) or to direct scientific research… slippages abroad have cast a form of suspicion on the Institutes”, concedes a university source.
From UBO to BBS
The IC antenna left the walls of the UBO a year ago. Officially for lack of space. “The number of students has increased by 40% in eight years”, justifies Matthieu Gallou, president of the UBO. “The state no longer wants to get wet. The Confucius Institutes are intended to leave the campuses”, deciphers another source.
“I have never been under pressure, interference or experienced the slightest incident”, insists, for his part, Alain Le Gall, who evokes “a lot of fantasies”. Matthieu Gallou agrees: “The lack of resources to develop cybersecurity and the storage of our researchers’ data is a subject that worries me infinitely more. »
Disturbing testimony from a BBS student
The Brest branch of the IC has since been hosted by the Brest Business School (BBS). A business school transferred to the Chinese flag (70%, against 30% for the local CCI) in 2017. The owner? The Weidong group, located in the Shandong region, twinned with Brittany. The same one that bought Demos, the French leader in continuing education, which offers, among other things, preparations… to French military schools!
In Brest, the business school, in bad shape, was playing its survival. “It’s a winning partnership”, slice today Frank Bellion, boss of the CCI at the time of the deal. In his eyes, no problem. “All course offerings are defined by the school, not by Weidong. And everything was done with the blessing of the public authorities in France, ”he assures.
“Even if there is no malignant ambition, the CCI networks, business schools, alumni, SMEs (…) can be exploited by the Chinese services, to do eco intelligence, scientific targeting, etc. “, Point out two specialists.
Apart from the appearance of Mandarin lessons, nothing would have changed? In the 2022 edition of his bible devoted to the “Chinese secret services” (New World editions), Brestois Roger Faligot reports a very disturbing testimony. That, in 2019, of a BBS student very surprised by “the very pointed questions or the research orientations of certain professors or members of the jury”. Topics requested? The neighboring Ile Longue and its nuclear submarines, and the arsenal of Brest.
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