FPI / May 12, 2020
Stanford University, the University of Kentucky and Colorado State University are just a few of the dozens of U.S. colleges and universities which have continued their partnerships with communist China's Confucius Institute despite increasing controversy about the program.
The Confucius Institute has been accused by U.S. public officials of stealing research and restricting campus speech that is critical of the Chinese government, according to a report by Campus Reform.
Many American universities and colleges such as the University of Delaware and the University of North Florida have cut ties with the Confucius Institute.
According to the College Reform report, dozens of universities have maintained their partnerships with the Confucius Institute despite evidence that suggests that the organization was designed to exploit American institutions and promote communist values.
"From Maine to Florida to Kansas to California, these centers claim to educate American students about Chinese language and culture, and administrators who run the campuses on which they operate appear to believe the same country that claims to have fewer coronavirus deaths than the U.S, despite its population being more than three times the size of the U.S. population," Campus Reform managing editor Jon Street wrote on May 8.
"U.S. intelligence officials have warned that these centers are little more than 'propaganda' arms of the communist country," added Street.
Last year, Sen. Josh Hawley, Missouri Republican, called for an investigation into the Confucius Institutes in the U.S. which are backed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Hawley said the Confucius Institutes are “a tool for China to spread influence and exercise soft power, a known threat to academic freedom,” and “a danger to our national defense and security.”
In calling for the investigation, Hawley cited North Carolina State University, which canceled an event with the Dalai Lama under pressure from its Confucius Institute.
Martin Davidson, the chairman of Adam Smith International, told The New York Times in 2012 that the Confucius Institute bribes colleges with large sums from the Chinese government in exchange for control over campus discourse on China. Professors at the University of Miami, for example, claim that they were told by Confucius Institute representatives that they were not permitted to discuss the Dalai Lama, the Chinese military, or Tibet.
A 2018 report by Politico Magazine revealed that a Chinese official admitted that the Confucius Institute is a vehicle used by the government to expand China’s influence abroad under the guise of Chinese language instruction.
"But the Confucius Institutes’ goals are a little less wholesome and edifying than they sound — and this is by the Chinese government’s own account," Breitbart News noted.
A 2011 speech by a standing member of the Politburo in Beijing laid out the case: “The Confucius Institute is an appealing brand for expanding our culture abroad,” Li Changchun said. “It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”
"Confucius Institutes are central players in China’s long-term strategy to gain influence in American institutions," Rachelle Peterson, policy director at the National Association of Scholars, wrote for National Review in August 2019.
"Colleges and universities see them as financial goody bags: free teachers and textbooks plus ancillary funds to offer Chinese classes, study-abroad funding, sponsored trips to China for the university president and other administrators, access to full-tuition-paying Chinese students," wrote Peterson, who is also the author of "Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education".
Free Press International