- April 26, 2017
New York, NY (April 26, 2017) – American colleges and universities have jeopardized their independence and academic freedom by succumbing to tools of China’s soft power, concludes a new report from the National Association of Scholars (NAS).
Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education finds that Confucius Institutes—teaching and research centers funded by the Chinese government but located at many U.S. colleges and universities—improperly limit professors’ academic freedom and curb universities’ autonomy. The report urges universities to close their Confucius Institutes as soon as possible.
Confucius Institutes offer classes in Chinese language and culture, frequently for credit and taught by teachers selected by an agency of the Chinese government, the Hanban. The Hanban funds the Institutes, pays teachers’ salaries, and prints thousands of free textbooks for American students.
One hundred three (103) Confucius Institutes operate in the United States, about 20% of the Confucius Institutes China has placed around the world. China operates another 501 Confucius Classrooms at American K-12 schools, nearly half of all Confucius Classrooms worldwide. The United States has more Confucius Institutes and Classrooms than any other nation. The Chinese government invests more than $1 million annually in just the Confucius Institutes located at American colleges and universities.
Outsourced to China profiles twelve Confucius Institutes in New York and New Jersey. It reports on the funding from China, the hiring policies that give the Chinese government significant control of who teaches Confucius Institute classes, and the pressures that teachers and professors report to self-censor topics deemed sensitive in China. Among the topics most subject to these constraints are the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the status of Taiwan and Tibet, and the treatment of members of Falun Gong, a meditative sect outlawed in China.
“Confucius Institutes represent a direct assault on the American norms of academic freedom and transparency. It is inappropriate for the Chinese government to free-ride on the authority and prestige of the American higher education system,” said Rachelle Peterson, director of research projects at NAS and the author of Outsourced to China. “U.S. colleges and universities should cease outsourcing their courses to the Chinese government and should close their Confucius Institutes.”
Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, said, “Outsourced to China is a meticulously detailed examination of the so-called ‘Confucius Institutes,’ which have nothing to do with Confucius, and everything to do with advancing the interests of one of America’s global adversaries. Rachelle Peterson’s report is the first of several studies NAS is doing of how U.S. universities have become susceptible to the influence of unfriendly foreign powers who come bearing too-good-to-be- true gifts.”
About the National Association of Scholars: The National Association of Scholars works to foster intellectual freedom and to sustain the tradition of reasoned scholarship and civil debate in America’s colleges and universities. To learn more about NAS, visit www.nas.org.
PDF of Outsourced to China: Download here >>
Contact: Rachelle Peterson / Director of Research Projects / Peterson@nas.org / (917) 551-6770
Media Packet: Download here >>