‘Reforming’ Confucius Institutes

Feb 23, 2018 |  Rachelle Peterson

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‘Reforming’ Confucius Institutes

Feb 23, 2018 | 

Rachelle Peterson

NAS policy director Rachelle Peterson makes an important point at American Greatness about keeping an eye on all nations that attempt to subvert American interests, and that most definitely includes China. Even though NAS published our report on Confucius Institutes almost one year ago, the troubling centers are garnering more attention than ever, including attention from members of Congress and the FBI. In the wake of this wave of negative attention, China has announced a series of "reforms" they will implement within the Confucius Institutes. Rachelle discusses why we should be wary of the reforms posed by the Chinese government.

China is aware of growing criticisms. China’s Global Times, reporting on new “reforms,” observes, “The Confucius Institute is facing challenges overseas especially in the West.” It blames these “challenges” on Westerners’ tendency to “misconstrue” the Institutes “as a religious organization sponsored by the Chinese government.”  It insists that “in fact, [Confucius Institutes are] just for language teaching and cultural exchanges.”

In fact, they are not just for language teaching and cultural exchanges. I completed a study of 12 Confucius Institutes in the United States and concluded the Chinese government uses the institutes to shape students’ perceptions of China, build soft power, and intimidate American scholars into keeping quiet about China’s sub-par human rights record. In their less guarded moments, Chinese officials admit this. Li Changchun, former head of propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party, called Confucius Institutes “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”

Read the whole article at American Greatness.

 

Image Credit: Public Domain