American Universities Are Showing the Door to Confucius Institutes

A Korean War poster.

Confucius Institutes are mostly funded by the Chinese government and they sneak pro-communist content into a large number of their courses like this lesson plan on the Korean war. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

In the U.S., Confucius Institutes operate on the campuses of close to 100 universities. Over the past few years, the intelligence community has been wary of these institutes, since they are mostly funded by the Chinese government and sneak in pro-communist content to a large number of their courses. Understanding the potential danger posed by the Confucius Institutes, several universities have decided to shut them down.

American shutdown of Confucius Institutes

In January, the University of Massachusetts, Boston, stated that it had severed ties with the Confucius Institute that had been operating on its campus for the past 12 years. The decision was made after a group of teachers and students wrote a letter to the interim chancellor last year raising concerns that the institute was attempting to influence academic discourse.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Receive selected content straight into your inbox.

“As a result of their presence on campus, whether through direct intervention or preemptive self-censorship, important political and human rights are being silenced,” the group had written in the letter (Commonwealth Magazine).

In November 2018, it was reported that North Carolina State University had decided to close down their Confucius Institute. A month later, the University of Michigan also declared that it won’t be renewing its contract with the organization. Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about Beijing using Confucius Institutes as a political tool in the U.S.

Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about Beijing using Confucius Institutes as a political tool in the U.S.
Last year, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about Beijing using Confucius Institutes as a political tool in the U.S. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

“We do share concerns about the Confucius institutes… We’ve been watching that development for a while. It’s just one of many tools that they take advantage of. We have seen some decrease recently in their own enthusiasm and commitment to that particular program, but it is something that we’re watching warily and in certain instances have developed appropriate investigative steps,” he said in a statement (Inside Higher Ed).

The institutes routinely inject pro-communist material into most of their study materials, trying to brainwash American students into believing that democracy and liberal values “do not work” and that communism will somehow bring equality to the country.

Discriminating against Falun Gong practitioners

Confucius Institutes have also become notorious for their opposition to Falun Gong practitioners. A documentary titled In the Name of Confucius exposes how the institutes discriminate against such people even in a liberal democracy like Canada.

The film follows the experiences of Sonia Zhang, a Falun Gong practitioner from China who sought asylum in Canada. A Confucius Institute in Canada rejected her application for the post of Mandarin teacher because of her spiritual inclination. The Chinese regime despises Falun Gong and has been persecuting its followers for almost two decades.

'In the Name of Confucius' official trailer.
Confucius Institutes have also become notorious for their opposition to Falun Gong practitioners, as exposed in a documentary titled ‘In the Name of Confucius.’ (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

Ms. Zhang challenged the institute’s position through Canada’s human rights commission. She argued that the university where the institute was functioning, McMaster University, was legitimizing discrimination by allowing the institute to ban Falun Gong practitioners from taking up jobs. The University later asked the institute to remove such discriminatory clauses. When they refused, McMaster decided to shut down the Confucius Institute.

“You have to think about what strings are attached, what kind of costs are coming with the free Chinese education provided by Confucius Institutes. Do you really want to sacrifice your academic freedom, human rights, and fundamental values to this free education opportunity?” Doris Liu, the filmmaker of the documentary, said in a statement (SBS News).

This problem is also seen in Australia where Confucius Institutes make it mandatory that teachers who sign contracts with them must not participate in Falun Gong or take any position that would bring shame or criticism to the Chinese Communist Party. In 2017, the then Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull stated that the country needed to pass specific laws that would counter the threat of foreign influence (aimed at China) in Australian universities.

Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest

Recommended Stories

Illustration of Chinese scholar Qian Mu, wearing traditional clothing and glasses.

Qian Mu: Guardian of Chinese Tradition in the Shadow of Communism (Part 1)

In 1949, as the Communist Party was poised to take control of mainland China, with ...

Old photo of Chinese historian, Qian Mu, dressed in scholarly robes.

Qian Mu: Guardian of Chinese Tradition in the Shadow of Communism (Part 2)

In 1966, when Chairman Mao Zedong initiated the Cultural Revolution, China’s traditional culture faced an ...

Illustration of a man resting on a sofa.

Unlocking the Benefits of Power Naps for Productivity and Well-Being

The relentless pace of modern life often leaves us feeling drained. In the midst of ...

Colored clouds in the sky.

How a Hug Can Make Miracles Happen

Do miracles exist? Our world is governed by logic and science; extraordinary events often spark ...

A young Chinese man napping on a train.

What Is the Ubiquitous Chinese Nap Culture?

The ubiquitous Chinese nap culture is something that most foreigners usually do not follow. The ...

A laughing baby crawling on the floor.

The Science of Joy: Exploring Human Psychology Through a Babies’ Laughter

There’s something irresistibly captivating about babies’ laughter. A beacon of pure joy and an indicator ...

A laughing Japanese school girl with her friends, all in their school uniforms eating ice cream cones.

Laughter Helps You Live Longer

Research reveals that laughter can help you live longer! The Chinese saying “Smiles make one ...

John Cleese of 'Fawlty Towers.'

‘Fawlty Towers’ Reboot: John Cleese and Daughter to Revive the Iconic Sitcom 40 Years Later

Most people fondly remember classic British sitcoms such as The Office, Blackadder, Last of the ...

William Getty walking with the aid of parallel bars.

A Small Act of Kindness Helped a Boy with Cerebral Palsy Learn to Walk Again

Living with cerebral palsy is an unimaginable hardship that some people have to go through. ...

Send this to a friend