With an aim of increasing their global influence, China is said to be setting up Confucius Institutes all over the world to brainwash students from a young age into accepting the Communist Party’s ideologies. The U.S., Australia, and some African countries are being targeted by Beijing’s propaganda machinery.
Confucius Institutes targeting America
According to estimates, there are about 105 Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes in the U.S. and about 500 Confucius Classrooms spread throughout middle schools. All of them operate directly under China’s Ministry of Education.
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“We are talking about American children from sixth to eighth grade who are being influenced at very critical ages… [The Confucius Institutes’] goal is to obtain strong influence, and infiltration, espionage, and ultimately control… it is happening in the U.S., Canada, UK, and Australia,” Casey Fleming, CEO of BlackOps Partners, said to The Epoch Times.
The situation is reportedly so serious that several members of Congress are planning on introducing a bill to keep such institutions under check. Called the “Countering the Chinese Government and Communist Party’s Political Influence Operations Act,” the bill will make it mandatory for all Confucius Institutes operating in U.S. colleges and universities to register as foreign agents. U.S. intelligence agencies will also have to report on the Communist Party’s disinformation and propaganda targeting America.
“Their goal is to exploit America’s academic freedom to instill in the minds of future leaders a pro-China viewpoint… It’s smart. It’s a long-term, patient approach,” Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), co-chair of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China, said to The Washington Post.
He has asked all educational institutions in Florida that host Confucius Institutes to reconsider their agreements. In fact, the University of West Florida opted not to renew its contract with the Confucius Institute after Rubio had enlightened them about the issue.
Expanding influence to Africa and Australia
In Australia, the government is reportedly reviewing Confucius Institutes after intelligence agencies alerted them to the matter. “According to John Garnaut, a former adviser on China to Australia’s Prime Minister, the activities of Confucius Institutes are ‘partly propaganda.’ The most menacing part is the link to the ‘United Front’s Work Department system that can potentially be used […] as a platform for influencing decision-making in universities.’ United Front is the PRC Communist Party’s secret weapon for trying to promote the Party’s policies overseas,” says an article at Typical Student.
While America and Australia seem to be aware of China’s devious plans of influencing their citizens, one region where the Chinese seem to have some sort of success with brainwashing is Africa. Many students who sign up at Confucius Institutes do so because they see China as an opportunity to escape from their horrible living conditions. “The Chinese are investing a lot in Senegal, and the biggest roads and buildings in Senegal were built by the Chinese,” a student studying Mandarin said to South China Morning Post.
As the African example shows, it will be the economically backward countries that are primarily influenced by China’s propaganda. First world countries, thanks to their better standard of life, may well be able to negate Beijing’s influence and not be impacted nearly as much by Beijing’s propaganda machine.