Many U.S. universities eliminated the Confucian Institutes funded by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which were considered a threat to national security by U.S. intelligence agencies.
“The Confucius Institute is an arm of the Chinese government’s propaganda machine,” said University of California-Davis student Michael Gofman, referring to those centers used by the CCP to indoctrinate Americans and spread Chinese propaganda.
“The time has come for us to consider new paths in building cultural exchange programs,” University of California-Davis Chancellor Gary S. May wrote to the Hanban division of China’s Ministry of Education, announcing the institute’s closure on April 28.
Most of the agreements signed by universities with Confucius Institutes, which claim to be dedicated to spreading Chinese culture among other things, required them to ignore academic freedom and comply with Chinese law and the Beijing teaching evaluation.
One example of these restrictions was denounced by Sonia Zhang, a former professor at the Confucius Institute of McMaster University in Canada.
Zhang said she had to sign a contract that excluded practitioners of the ancient Falun Gong discipline, based on truth, benevolence, and tolerance and was trained to give Beijing’s version if students asked her about Tibet, and other sensitive issues such as Taiwan’s freedom and the Tiananmen massacre.
Several Republican legislators from seven House committees warned U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos this week that Beijing is indoctrinating American students.
The University of Maryland closed the Confucius Institute on its campus, the oldest in the country, earlier this year.
The China State Administration of Foreign Expert Affairs, trains “approximately 600 Chinese university officials and administrators each year,” according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Several university academics considered these centers an affront to academic freedom on campus since they impose the Chinese regime’s censorship on certain topics and perspectives in course materials that are written in China, for political reasons.
They also take political loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party into consideration when hiring employees and officials.
They were found to issue threats from Beijing and surveil students, as well as pressure academics into self-censorship, according to HRW.
Since 2014 at least 29 of the country’s Confucian Institutes have been closed in about 100 universities.
The closures increased because of the U.S. National Defense Authorization Act of 2019, which allowed universities to choose between maintaining their Confucian Institutes or receiving funds for language programs from the Department of Defense.
Similarly, the FBI believes that espionage by the CCP is the greatest threat to the United States, as the cases investigated and arrests made have increased at an unprecedented rate.
FBI Director Christopher Wray reported on the nearly 1,000 investigations of espionage charges, mainly by his 56 offices, involving almost all U.S. industrial activities.
In Europe, Sweden became the first country to close all Confucian Institutes, for security reasons.
All these closures occurred amid the controversy caused by the Chinese regime’s inept handling of the CCP Virus outbreak, which has already caused nearly 260,000 deaths worldwide, in addition to incalculable economic losses.