The National Association of Scholars applauds the Texas A&M University System for its decision, announced yesterday, to close two Confucius Institutes, at Texas A&M University and Prairie View A&M University. We thank Chancellor John Sharp for taking this important step to secure the intellectual freedom and safety of students and staff.
Confucius Institutes, run by an agency of the Chinese government called the Hanban, compromise academic freedom and jeopardize the autonomy of the institution. Last year, after NAS’s report, Outsourced to China, documented the way China attempts to purchase influence over American colleges and universities, we called on all institutions to close their Confucius Institutes. Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M are the third and fourth universities in the last year to do so.
Chancellor John Sharp’s decision followed a letter from two Texas Congressmen, Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar, who urged all Texas universities to cut ties with their Confucius Institutes. The letter, which cited NAS’s research, noted that Confucius Institutes “are spreading China’s political agenda, suppressing academic debate, and stealing vital academic research.”
We thank Representatives McCaul and Cuellar for their leadership on this important topic, and we call on all members of Congress to take action to defend the integrity of American higher education from the threat of Chinese government interference.
We also urge the remaining 100 American colleges and universities with Confucius Institutes to sever ties with the Hanban at once.
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