Tracker: Legislative Measures on Confucius Institutes

Flora Yan

June 21, 2022. This list, originally published in June 2022, will be updated periodically. If you know of additional measures not included here, please write to [email protected].

Some 66 legislative measures have been introduced to address Confucius Institutes, the Chinese government-sponsored campus centers that NAS profiled in our 2017 report, Outsourced to China. Initially, some states introduced resolutions encouraging the development of Confucius Institutes. Then public policy began targeting them, leading to a steep decline in the number of CIs open, as detailed in our 2022 report After Confucius Institutes.

We provide two charts below. The first shows 49 Confucius Institute-related measures introduced in both the U.S. Congress and state legislatures since 2009. The second shows 17 measures introduced in U.S. state legislatures that address Chinese government influence on educational institutions, though not explicitly mentioning Confucius Institutes.

Among the Confucius Institute-related measures, two significant bills were passed by the US Congress: a 2018 amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019, barring grant funding for Department of Defense-funded Chinese Flagship language programs at universities that also host Confucius Institutes. The bill permitted DoD to issue waivers, which many universities sought, but all such requests have been denied. This language was strengthened in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021 to bar all DoD funding except under the condition that the Department issued a waiver.

Of all the states that have introduced CI-related measures, the most notable is Tennessee, which from 2009-2014 adopted multiple resolutions praising the contributions of Hanban and Confucius Institutes (including one commending former Hanban director-general Xu Lin). Then in 2021, the state passed a bill barring state higher education institutions from hosting CIs.

State and Federal Measures on Confucius Institutes

State Measures Addressing Chinese Government Influence on American Education

Image: Denise Bossarte, Public Domain

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