The National Association of Scholars welcomes the State Department’s decision to designate the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China. This designation recognizes Confucius Institutes for what they are: central nodes in the CCP's overseas propaganda network.
The Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUSC) effectively operates as a branch office of the Hanban, the Chinese government agency that oversees Confucius Institutes. (The Hanban, meanwhile, is in the midst of renaming itself as part of an attempt to rebrand and salvage the reputation of Confucius Institutes.) The State Department rightly calls the CIUSC “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms.”
For years, the National Association of Scholars has sounded the alarm on Confucius Institutes and called for their closure. Our 2017 report, Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education, found that colleges and universities across the country had ceded improper control of their classrooms to the Chinese government, which had hired teachers, selected textbooks, and funded the creation of college courses—all of which papered over the Chinese Communist regime’s human rights abuses and international aggression.
We are pleased that so far 45 colleges and universities have severed ties with their Confucius Institutes, and we call on the remaining 75 Confucius Institutes to close. These colleges and universities now bear the weight of explaining why they host an entity that advances the aims of the Chinese Communist Party.
Image: Gage Skidmore, Public Domain