In the last four years, Confucius Institutes have rapidly closed down across the United States. Amid pressure from the FBI, the Department of State, Congress, and state legislatures, colleges and universities have terminated their agreements for these Chinese language and culture centers sponsored by the Chinese government. Of 118 Confucius Institutes that once existed in the United States, 104 have closed or are in the process of doing so.
The demise of Confucius Institutes (CIs), one of China’s most strategic beachheads in American higher education, has not deterred the Chinese government from seeking alternative means of influencing American colleges and universities. It has used an all-of-the-above approach to protecting its spheres of influence on American higher education, ranging from full-throated defenses of Confucius Institutes to threats. Among its most successful tactics, however, has been the effort to rebrand Confucius Institute-like programs under other names.
Many once-defunct Confucius Institutes have since reappeared in other forms.
- 28 institutions have replaced (and 12 have sought to replace) their closed Confucius Institute with a similar program.
- 58 have maintained (and 5 may have maintained) close relationships with their former CI partner.
- 5 have (and 3 may have) transferred their Confucius Institute to a new host, thereby keeping the CI alive.
- The single most popular reason institutions give when they close a CI is to replace it with a new Chinese partnership program.
Institutions have entered new sister university agreements with Chinese universities, established “new” centers closely modeled on defunct Confucius Institutes, and even continued to receive funding from the same Chinese government agencies that funded the Confucius Institutes.
Such subterfuge matches the rebranding of the Hanban, the Chinese government agency that launched Confucius Institutes. Hanban has renamed itself the Ministry of Education Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation (CLEC) and spun off a separate organization, the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF), that now funds and oversees Confucius Institutes and many of their replacements.
This report documents what really happens when Confucius Institutes close. We find that:
- American universities are generally eager to replace their Confucius Institute with a similar program.
- The Chinese government initially responded to CI closures with shock and indignation, later with mere regret, and eventually by a template response letter that offers to support alternative programs.
- Many Confucius Classrooms (K-12 equivalents of CIs) have survived the closure of their sponsoring Confucius Institute.
- Many CI staff have migrated to CI-replacement programs at the same university. Some from a number of institutions have also congregated under the auspices of the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky, hosted by Simpson County Schools after Western Kentucky University withdrew.
- Some CI textbooks and materials remain on the campuses of institutions that closed CIs.
- Many institutions, upon closing a CI, were forced to refund money to the Chinese government, sometimes in excess of $1 million.
- A handful of American nonprofits have been influential in shepherding CI programs to new homes, in particular BG Education Management Solutions, run by Terrill Martin, the former CI director at Western Kentucky University.
- Institutions’ foreign gift and contract disclosures under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act are spotty and unreliable. Some, including those for the University of Michigan and Arizona State University, have been retroactively edited to make continued Chinese funding anonymous.
We offer information on all 104 American institutions that have closed a Confucius Institute, as well as in-depth case studies of four: the University of Washington, Western Kentucky University, Arizona State University, and Purdue University.
Our case studies reveal the dynamics behind the Chinese government’s overtures and American universities’ eagerness to reciprocate. We recount the origin of the University of Washington’s Confucius Institute in a meeting between then Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and then Chinese President Hu Jintao at Bill Gates’ house in 2006, and how the CI developed unusually close relationships with corporations including Microsoft. The Confucius Institute relied on a third-party “fiscal agent,” shielding the University of Washington from federal transparency laws. The University of Washington, since severing ties with its Confucius Institute in order to maintain federal funding, not only transferred the Confucius Institute to Pacific Lutheran University but also sought legal loopholes that would permit it to re-establish ties with the Confucius Institute.
Western Kentucky University (WKU) installed as its founding Confucius Institute director Wei-Ping Pan, a leading expert in coal technology, at just the time the Chinese government was targeting coal technology for improper transfer to China. WKU parted with its CI by transferring it to a local school district, and immediately became embroiled in ongoing litigation over penalties regarding the Model Confucius Institute Building, constructed with a $1.5 million investment from the Chinese government. WKU’s former CI director, Terrill Martin, is now running both a nonprofit and a for-profit firm alongside Pan, focused on promoting engagement with China and salvaging Confucius Institute programs.
Arizona State University, when seeking to establish a Confucius Institute, first entered a “sister university” agreement with Sichuan University, a step it had been told would boost its application for a CI. That sister university relationship has survived the closure of the CI. In 2018, when Confucius Institutes were attracting national scrutiny, ASU Vice President of Governmental Affairs Matt Salmon traveled the nation praising Hanban. His comments at a National Press Club event, where he claimed (wrongly) that the Department of Defense had co-funded ASU’s CI, prompted Congress to amend the National Defense Authorization Act to bar DoD funding to universities with CIs. Salmon, a former member of Congress, is no longer at ASU and is now running for Governor of Arizona.
Purdue University built a number of partnerships with Shanghai Jiaotong University, some of which have survived the closure of its Confucius Institute. In a move echoed at many other universities, Purdue also moved many of its CI programs into other units at the university, directed by the former CI director but less traceable by the public.
This report draws on correspondence obtained via open records requests, contracts, and agreements between American universities and their Chinese partners, interviews, and site visits.
Online, at https://data.nas.org/confucius_institute_contracts you may browse our archive of documents for more than 80 universities. In Appendix I, you may see our chart of the current status of Confucius Institutes in the United States. (This chart is also available online at www.nas.org/blogs/article/how_many_confucius_institutes_are_in_the_united_states, where it will continue to be updated.)
We recommend that all universities not only close their remaining Confucius Institutes, but also withdraw from CI-replacement programs, including sister university relationships with Chinese universities.
We recommend that the federal government should:
- In the short-term, protect against post-CI influence campaigns, such as by amending the National Defense Authorization Act to target CI-replacement programs, and instituting new limits on other sources of federal funding to institutions that maintain a CI or similar program.
- In the long-term, protect against Chinese government influence operations, by instituting a tax on funds institutions receive via Chinese gifts and contracts, capping the amount of Chinese funding a college or university may receive before jeopardizing eligibility for federal funding, and prohibiting funding to colleges and universities that enter research partnerships with Chinese universities involved in China’s military-civil fusion.
- Commission a study on Confucius Classrooms, which are poorly understood but frequently survive the closure of their sponsoring CI. Meanwhile, the State Department should investigate potential visa abuse, as it did at CIs.
- Strengthen transparency requirements in Section 117 of the Higher Education Act by eliminating the disclosure threshold, requiring the name of the foreign donor, eliminating loopholes that permit foreign institutions to run gifts through foreign agents or university foundations, instituting stiff penalties, outlawing back-editing of data, and making disclosures user-friendly.
Because this report relied heavily on open records requests filed in 41 states, we also offer recommendations to streamline the FOIA process. Many states’ laws are needlessly complex, archaic, and so ineptly carried out they would seem designed to prevent, rather than empower, the American public’s access to public information. States’ open records laws should prevent unreasonable fees, specify a response time, include correspondence, penalize willful withholding of documents, narrowly define exemptions, and mandate infrastructure that support system-wide email searches.
We thank the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation for providing support for this project. We also thank members of the National Association of Scholars and others who helped us collect information on the universities we studied.
When the first Confucius Institutes opened in 2005, Dan Mote hoped these Chinese government-sponsored programs would “teach the language and culture of China.” Mote was then president of the University of Maryland, the host of the first Confucius Institute in the United States, and he had helped the Chinese government come up with the idea of a Confucius Institute. “In 2001, China’s in the WTO, and we’re trying to think of some program we could create where we could help people understand what China is about,” Mote told People’s Daily, a Chinese Communist Party newspaper, in a 2020 profile. “Culture was the right topic because it’s clear, it’s not controversial.”1
Confucius Institutes did in fact adopt as their mission “enhancing the understanding of Chinese language and culture by people from all countries,” and repeated Mote’s hope that these centers would avoid controversy. They would “develop friendly relations between China and foreign countries, promote the development of the world’s multiculturalism, and build a harmonious world,” according to the Confucius Institute Constitution.2
The Chinese government set up the Confucius Institute Headquarters under the umbrella of the Hanban, an agency of the Chinese Ministry of Education, to oversee and fund Confucius Institutes. The Hanban would recruit foreign universities, pair them with a Chinese university, and select Chinese teachers, textbooks, and other supplies. Hanban would supply annual funding, which host universities were to match, usually by way of donated classrooms and office space.
Mote won the “Chinese Government Friendship Award” in 2014 in part for his efforts to launch the Confucius Institutes. For a time the Confucius Institute program far exceeded his expectations. “The thinking was fifty in the world and ten in the United States,” he told People’s Daily. “It turned out to be much more attractive than we thought.”
In the United States alone, some 118 educational institutions have hosted a Confucius Institute. These include 110 colleges and universities, seven school districts, and one private educational organization, the China Institute. Around 500 American K-12 schools have hosted Confucius Classrooms, a smaller version of the Confucius Institute, aided in part by the Asia Society, an American nonprofit that runs a network of some 100 Confucius Classrooms.3 Others received individual Chinese teachers via the Chinese Guest Teacher Program operated until recently by the Hanban and the College Board, the nonprofit best-known for administering the SAT and Advanced Placement tests.
But even more swiftly than they appeared, Confucius Institutes have closed. At the end of 2021, 104 American institutions had closed their Confucius Institutes or were in the process of doing so. The University of Maryland, Dan Mote’s institution, shut its Confucius Institute in 2020.
Why did Confucius Institutes close? Chronologically, most closures followed a nationwide reckoning with the sheer scale of the Chinese Communist Party’s overseas influence campaign. Confucius Institutes, the Thousand Talents Program, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association—these and many other Chinese government-backed programs grew to such size that the United States started paying attention, and quickly realized that the Chinese government’s largesse came with strings attached.
The FBI began discussing higher education’s “naivete.”4 The State Department warned of “malign influence” via Confucius Institutes.5 The Department of Education and the Department of State issued notices to school districts with Confucius Classrooms.6 Members of Congress—both Republicans and Democrats—began writing their constituent universities and introducing bills to address Confucius Institutes. The National Defense Authorization Act was amended twice, in 2018 and again in 2020, to bar universities with Confucius Institutes from certain Department of Defense grants.
But wariness about China’s ulterior motives is not the reason most colleges and universities gave when they closed their Confucius Institutes. They generally expressed regret at being “forced” to do so by federal policies. Several ran afoul of visa regulations and closed upon being audited by the State Department. Others claimed their students weren’t interested in learning Chinese.
Some gave excuses. University of California-Los Angeles spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told us UCLA closed its Confucius Institute in part because of “an urgency to focus the university’s resources and expertise on pressing world issues, such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”7
Several, including the University of Michigan, sought to retain Hanban funding even after the closure of the Confucius Institute.8 Federal disclosures show the university did in fact receive more than $300,000 from Hanban in May and June 2019, just as the Confucius Institute was closing in June 2019 (though these disclosures have since been deleted from the Department of Education’s website).
Other universities worked to rehouse the Confucius Institute elsewhere, as the University of Washington did when it passed its CI to Pacific Lutheran University in 2019. Western Kentucky University, too, recruited a local school district, the Simpson County Public Schools, to take over its Confucius Institute in 2019, a transfer aided in large part by a consulting group run by Terrill Martin, former director of the Confucius Institute.
Many created something substantially similar to a Confucius Institute under a different name, as did Georgia State University, the College of William and Mary, Michigan State University, and Northern State University.
In some cases, the Chinese government appears to have anticipated the possibility of Confucius Institute closures. It encouraged universities to form official partnerships that existed outside the Confucius Institutes and therefore could survive a Confucius Institute closure. Arizona State University, one of our case study institutions, signed a “sister university” agreement with Sichuan University in 2006, at the same time it was negotiating a separate agreement for the Confucius Institute, also run in partnership with Sichuan University.
The Asia Society, the sponsor of the Confucius Classrooms Network, has gone a step further and simply renamed its program the “Chinese Language Partner Network.”9 The Asia Society evidently realized that the name “Confucius Institute” had become a major PR problem and decided to continue the program by camouflaging it.
Have Confucius Institutes really closed? Or have they just transformed into something allegedly new but substantially similar?
This report describes what happens when a Confucius Institute closes. We describe our findings at all 104 institutions that have closed or are in the process of closing a Confucius Institute, and we examine four universities in closer detail: the University of Washington, Western Kentucky University, Arizona State University, and Purdue University.
We also offer, as an online database at https://data.nas.org/confucius_institute_contracts, an archive of documents for over 80 universities. This archive is the result of more than 100 Freedom of Information requests that we filed, producing several thousand pages of documents. In the archive you can see original Confucius Institute contracts, correspondence with the Chinese government, financial records regarding the funding of Confucius Institutes and their replacement programs, and more.
In this report, we document the reasons institutions give for closing their Confucius Institutes, and describe what effect that decision had on the university. We ask what happened to the CI staff, the books the Hanban had donated, and the programs the Confucius Institute was running. We consider how the closure of the Confucius Institute affected the university’s relationship with universities in China, especially the Chinese university that had been its CI partner.
We also describe three types of action taken after CI closure: replacing the CI, maintaining a partnership with the Chinese partner university, or transferring the CI to a new home.
Replacing the CI means the institution retained, on its own campus and as part of its own programming, substantial pieces of its Confucius Institute under a different name. This includes institutions that formed new replacement programs with the Chinese university that had partnered in the Confucius Institute. It also includes institutions that formed new China-focused centers that took on Confucius Institute staff, Confucius Institute programs, or funding from the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation (CLEC) or the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF), the successors to Hanban.
Institutions that maintained partnerships with Chinese universities frequently kept or developed “sister university” relationships. Others separately entered research or exchange agreements.
By transferring the CI, the university found a new home for the Confucius Institute and its associated Confucius Classrooms. In some cases this meant recruiting another university to take over the Confucius Institute, so that the Institute itself never closed but merely changed hosts. In other cases, the university made arrangements for local K-12 Confucius Classrooms, which are frequently a core component of each Confucius Institute.
We expected to find at least some examples of a fourth type of closure, a full closure. A full closure, in our definition, means a university terminated all agreements with the Hanban; did not enter a new agreement with either of the Hanban’s two successor organizations, CLEC or CIEF; did not enter into or retain an agreement with a Chinese partner university that is substantially similar to the agreement that formed the Confucius Institute; did not retain a “sister university” relationship with a Chinese university; did not rehouse the Confucius Institute or any of its programs; did not retain Confucius Institute staff; and did not retain any Hanban-supplied textbooks or other materials.
In some cases, we have insufficient information to classify a university. But in no cases are we sufficiently confident to classify any university as having fully closed its Confucius Institute. All four of our case study institutions showed evidence of continued collaboration with the Chinese government. Of the additional 100 colleges and universities that have closed a CI, our research could not confirm a single complete closure of the Confucius Institute.
Overall we find that the Chinese government has carefully courted American colleges and universities, seeking to persuade them to keep their Confucius Institutes or, failing that, to reopen similar programs under other names. American colleges and universities, too, appear eager to replace their Confucius Institutes with other forms of engagement with China, frequently in ways that mimic the major problems with Confucius Institutes.
What Are Confucius Institutes?
Before we describe the closure of Confucius Institutes and their replacement with similar programs, we should clearly define what a Confucius Institute is.
As we described in greater detail in our 2017 report, Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education, Confucius Institutes are centers that teach Chinese language and culture. They are almost always located on a college or university campus, though they may occasionally be located at a K-12 school district or nonprofit organization. Confucius Institutes are set up as partnerships between a host institution, a Chinese partner (usually a Chinese university), and a Chinese government agency.
Until recently, that Chinese government agency was the Hanban, also known as the Office of Chinese Language Council International and as the Confucius Institute Headquarters. As criticism of Confucius Institutes spread, the Chinese government reorganized and rebranded the Hanban as the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation. This new organization, CLEC, has also spun off another new organization, the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF). Although CIEF is now in charge of Confucius Institutes, CLEC remains active in setting up and funding similar programs under a variety of names other than “Confucius Institute.”
The Chinese government undertook this reorganization in an attempt to salvage Confucius Institutes’ reputations, which we discuss further in the section “Rebranding Confucius Institutes.”
The Hanban funds each Confucius Institute, often around $100,000 per year, and it asks host institutions to match those funds with their own contributions, usually classroom and office space. Sometimes the Hanban provides substantially more money. Stanford University received $4 million (which it matched) to endow a professorship. Western Kentucky University, one of our four case study institutions, received $1.5 million, which it also matched, to construct a building for the Confucius Institute.10 When the university closed its Confucius Institute in 2019, it began a still-ongoing dispute with the Hanban as to how much money it owes Hanban as repayment.
In addition to providing funding, the Hanban sent free textbooks (the standard offer was 3,000) and provided teachers and a Chinese co-director. The teachers and co-director were usually from the Chinese partner university and came on two-year contracts. They were contracted with and paid by the Hanban, which usually also covered their living expenses while working at the Confucius Institute, airfare to and from China, and health insurance. The Chinese partner university worked with the Hanban to propose a slate of candidates, from which the host university was allowed to select. Universities frequently claimed “complete control” of the hiring process, but in reality they controlled only the final selection from among a limited number of pre-screened candidates put forward by the Hanban.
Confucius Institutes offered classes, usually on Chinese language, and frequently hosted cultural events, such as Chinese tea ceremonies, lunar new year celebrations, guest lectures, and musical performances. Sometimes these classes were offered for-credit, meaning that students paid regular tuition and received credits that counted toward their degrees. At least one university, Rutgers, previously permitted students to fulfill their general education distribution requirements by taking Confucius Institute courses. Often Confucius Institutes offered not-for-credit classes, open to both college students and members of the public.
The Hanban heavily encouraged the creation of Confucius Classrooms at K-12 schools as well, and many of these developed as offshoots of a Confucius Institute at a college or university. Confucius Classrooms operate as smaller-scale versions of Confucius Institutes, offering Chinese language courses to elementary and secondary schools. In some states, such as Utah, Confucius Classroom teachers have been assigned to teach in language immersion programs, through which they teach not only language, but also primary subjects, including some like history or economics that the Chinese government may have a special interest in.
While many Confucius Institutes have closed, our research suggests that many Confucius Classrooms remain open.
Criticisms of Confucius Institutes
Groups as diverse as the FBI, the American Association of University Professors, the Department of State, the Department of Education, as well as the National Association of Scholars, have criticized Confucius Institutes.
Marshall Sahlins, in a seminal 2013 piece for The Nation, described Confucius Institutes as propaganda programs that “routinely and assiduously… hold events and offer instruction under the aegis of host universities that put the PRC in a good light.”11 Sahlins’ criticisms helped sway his institution, the University of Chicago, to cancel its Confucius Institute in 2014—the first major CI closure in the United States.12 Sahlins’ subsequent book, Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware, chronicled incidents in which Confucius Institutes engaged in various abuses of higher education, such as pressing for disinvitations of the Dalai Lama or misleading students about the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
The American Association of University Professors, too, has called Confucius Institutes “partnerships that sacrificed the integrity of the university.” It recommended in 2014 that “universities cease their involvement in Confucius Institutes” unless they could demonstrate unilateral control over the Institute and full academic freedom for teachers.13
We, the National Association of Scholars, investigated twelve Confucius Institutes for a 2017 report, Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education. That same year, Chinese-Canadian documentary journalist Doris Liu released In the Name of Confucius, looking at Confucius Institutes in Canada. NAS’s report documented distorted or censored discussions of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the status of Taiwan, and China’s aggression toward Tibet. We also exposed secret contracts universities had signed with the Chinese government, granting the Hanban power to hire teachers, select curricula, and exercise veto power over all Confucius Institute programs and events.
FBI Director Chris Wray in 2018 testified that his agency took “investigative steps” at Confucius Institutes, because China uses “nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting” to engage in espionage.14
In 2019 two federal bodies issued reports on Confucius Institutes. The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations found that China spent $158 million on U.S.-based Confucius Institutes, and at least $2 billion worldwide since 2006. It described Confucius Institutes as “part of China’s broader, long-term strategy” to develop soft power and “export China’s censorship” to college campuses. It recommended that without full transparency regarding Confucius Institutes and reciprocity for American cultural outreach on Chinese campuses, “Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States.”15
The report from the Government Accountability Office downplayed concerns about Confucius Institutes, though in a manner that frequently stoked new concerns. Having documented that Confucius Institute teachers were selected from a pool of candidates put forward by Hanban, for instance, it reported that college and university officials “expressed no concerns about the process for hiring teachers,” suggesting that universities were either unaware of or indifferent to China’s stifling of their teachers’ academic freedom.16
Then-U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called Confucius Institutes “part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus” in a 2020 statement that officially designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China.17 A few days later then-Undersecretary of State Keith Krach wrote to all college and university governing boards, warning that Confucius Institutes “exert malign influence on U.S. campuses and disseminate CCP propaganda.”18
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued a joint letter with Pompeo in October 2020, warning state commissioners of education about “an authoritarian slant in curriculum and teaching” at Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms.19
Students, too, have stepped forward with concerns about Confucius Institutes. Students like Rory O’Connor founded the nonprofit Athenai Institute in 2020 to push back against Chinese Communist Party influence on American colleges. In its first public act, Athenai issued a “Washington Appeal” outlining policies to protect American colleges, including “The immediate and permanent closure of all Confucius Institutes in the United States.”20 The leadership of both the College Republican National Committee and the College Democrats of America, plus some two dozen activists and Chinese dissidents, signed the Appeal.
Such concerns abound in other nations, as well. The U.K. Conservative Party Human Rights Commission issued a 2019 report concluding that “Confucius Institutes as they are currently constituted threaten academic freedom and freedom of expression in universities around the world and represent an endeavour by the Chinese Communist Party to spread its propaganda and suppress its critics beyond its borders.”21 In April 2020, Sweden became the first European country to end all Confucius Institute partnerships.22
In Japan, Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has announced plans to launch a formal inquiry into Confucius Institutes.23 In Scotland, members of the Educational Institute of Scotland, a teacher’s union have called for an investigation of Confucius Institutes.24
China’s Defense and Rebranding of CIs
The Chinese government has used an “all-of-the-above” approach to defending its Confucius Institutes. It has sought to persuade Americans that Confucius Institutes are innocuous, as with a 2018 National Press Club event sponsored by the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, where ASU’s Matt Salmon claimed the Confucius Institute was “a real, real blessing” co-funded by the Department of Defense. The Chinese government has also threatened the U.S. with hostility, as in July 2021, when Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng delivered a list of “wrongdoings” it demanded the U.S. correct, including assaults on Confucius Institutes.25
For a time, Hanban sought to reassure its American partner universities of the value of a Confucius Institute, and to coach them in the art of defending their Confucius Institutes. Records requests reveal that Hanban mailed to many American hosts of Confucius Institutes a 2019 letter rebutting “recent groundless criticism” and seeking suggestions “on how to better develop our Confucius Institute under such circumstances.” The letter, signed by Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, proceeded to “clarify the mission of the Confucius Institutes,” provided a list of talking points, and urged “proactive” measures such as making Confucius Institute contracts public—the secrecy of which critics had frequently commented on.26
Some Chinese universities, too, wrote to their American partners, urging them to maintain their Confucius Institutes despite recent counter-pressure. In April 2019, East China Normal University President Qian Xuhong wrote to University of Oregon President Michael H. Schill, saying he had “learnt that the Confucius Institute is in face of some difficulties.” Xuhong assured Schill that East China Normal University, “in the name of Partner University, are more than willing to continuously join hands with you to find out suitable ways to settle the difficulties.”27
In addition to defending Confucius Institutes outright, the Chinese government has also relied on the art of subterfuge, rebranding Confucius Institutes under different names and massaging their outlines to be less obvious to the public, and better camouflaged within the university. This has proven an effective strategy, and at least 38 universities that closed a Confucius Institute have replaced or sought to replace it with something similar.
The Chinese government knows the United States is well on its way to a post Confucius Institute world, and it is prepared.
Defending Confucius Institutes
The Chinese government has not shied away from full-throated defenses of its Confucius Institutes. Sometimes it does so in its own name. Often, it arranges for platforms and avenues from which American supporters of Confucius Institutes may speak.
The Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUSC) paid for fourteen national press releases via PRNewswire between 2018 and 2020,28 including an “Open Letter to Editors Nationwide.”29 In 2018 it broadcast on DirectTV and on YouTube a ten-episode TV series featuring presidents of American universities and corporations praising Confucius Institutes.30
CIUSC went so far as to book the National Press Club for a panel discussion in 2018, moderated by John Holdren, CEO of the U.S.-China Strong Foundation. The event featured four top administrators at universities with Confucius Institutes, each speaking highly of the Chinese government’s generosity in educating American students.
Perhaps most enthusiastic among the panelists was Matt Salmon, a former member of Congress from Arizona and at that time vice president of government affairs at Arizona State University. (ASU is one of this report’s case study institutions, detailed later in this report.).
Salmon called the Confucius Institute “a real, real blessing.” Then, in the most-quoted words of that event, Salmon remarked, “The Department of Defense has invested at Arizona’s Confucius program.” He continued, “I find it a little bit incredulous” that anyone considers Confucius Institutes “a security threat,” noting that “if the DoD had serious reservations that the CI was some kind of threat to national security, they wouldn’t have in their wildest dreams provided funding.”31
Salmon had actually overstated the cooperation between ASU’s Confucius Institute and its Department of Defense-funded Chinese Language Flagship Program, but the CCP mouthpiece China Daily immediately took Salmon’s words at face-value in a puff piece on Confucius Institutes.32 Shortly thereafter, Senator Ted Cruz added language to the National Defense Authorization Act barring the DoD from funding Confucius Institutes.33
That law, and similar measures considered by state governments, has prompted additional supporters of Confucius Institutes to step forward. “The U.S. government should stop vilifying China’s Confucius Institutes,” former China correspondent Ian Johnson wrote for the Times in a March 2021 piece headlined, “Mr. Biden, Enough With the Tough Talk on China.” Johnson compared Confucius Institutes to the UK’s British Council—a comparison Hanban has long promoted—and advised that although CI courses should not grant college credit, they should “be able to function” off-campus.34
A few weeks later Jamie P. Horsley worried about “the end of CIs after a 15-year, generally controversy-free record in the United States.” Horsley, who is a senior fellow at Paul Tsai China Center, a visiting lecturer in law at Yale Law School, and a visiting fellow in Foreign Policy at the John L. Thornton China Center of the Brookings Institution, called for “a new policy on Confucius Institutes,” which amounted to greater government funding for Chinese language instruction and an end to laws (like the NDAA) that Horsley sees as “forcing cash-strapped universities to choose between federal funding and properly managed CI programs.”35
Some universities have also stepped forward to praise their Confucius Institutes. Some have since reneged, like UCLA. In 2018 UCLA spokesman Ricardo Vazquez told the student newspaper The Daily Bruin that despite FBI Director Chris Wray’s concerns about Confucius Institutes, UCLA considered its Confucius Institute “especially important in a city like Los Angeles.”36 (Two years later the UCLA Confucius Institute did in fact close.)
But a number of Confucius Institutes remain open in the United States (see Appendix IV), and some are vocal. Troy University dispatched Chancellor Jack Hawkins to lobby against an Alabama bill that would have barred state universities from hosting Confucius Institutes.37 Troy may have an ulterior motive to retain its Confucius Institute. Its most recent agreement with Hanban, signed in 2018 for a five-year term, permitted Hanban to cancel the agreement early, but would penalize Troy’s early withdrawal. Troy would owe “all the damages incurred” to Hanban, including “all the investment made under this Agreement, the legal expense and the indemnity for defamation.”38
Most universities that favor Confucius Institutes, though, have chosen to quietly let them go, only to reopen a similar center under a new name.
Rebranding Confucius Institutes
The Hanban, the Chinese government agency whose name has become nearly synonymous with “Confucius Institute,” in July 2020 renamed itself the Ministry of Education Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation, or CLEC. CLEC then spun off a new nonprofit organization, the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF), to run Confucius Institutes.
China’s Global Times presented the rebranding as a way to “disperse the Western misinterpretation that the organization served as China’s ideological marketing machine.”39 Hanban’s transformation did, in fact, execute a plan the Chinese government had announced to “reform” the image of Confucius Institutes, retooling them to “better serve Chinese diplomacy.”40
As early as 2019, Hanban was preparing to modify Confucius Institutes to make them more palatable to the West. That year, Hanban staff led a session at the 2019 National Chinese Language Conference, an annual conference Hanban started in 2007 before stepping back as a behind-the-scenes funders, while the Asia Society and the College Board became the public organizers.41 Hanban gathered some 60 CI directors at the conference to discuss threats to the future of Confucius Institutes. One attendee, Aihua Liao, the assistant director of the Confucius Institute at the University of Washington, recalled that Ma Jianfei of Hanban told attendees “US CIs are now facing challenges and many are to be closed but Hanban sees it as an opportunity to restructure/remap the CIs across the world.” Ma also advised that, in Liao’s words, “Hanban will support whichever way that could help CI to relocate due to conflict with DoD funding or other federal policies.”42
In 2020, the Hanban consulted with Nathaniel Ahrens, executive director of the American Mandarin Society, to help Hanban reshape the image of Confucius Institutes. Our FOIA requests show that in 2020, the Washington State China Relations Council prepared a webinar on Confucius Institutes, featuring Ahrens. An invitation to Jeffrey Riedinger, vice provost of the University of Washington, described Ahrens as having “worked on the issue with the Hanban” to “help them reorganize the concept” of Confucius Institutes to more closely match Germany’s better respected Goethe Institutes.43 The webinar was notable not only for its emphasis on “reorganizing” Confucius Institutes to make them more appealing, but also because it sought to include the University of Washington, which had already closed its Confucius Institute but could, in theory, be persuaded back to participation.
Hanban’s reorganization changes little about the substance of Confucius Institutes. CIEF is technically a nongovernmental nonprofit, which defenders of Confucius Institutes say makes null past criticisms that Confucius Institutes are run by the Chinese government. In reality, the line between the Chinese government and its offshoot organizations is paper-thin. CIEF is under the supervision of the Chinese Ministry of Education and is funded by the Chinese government.
CLEC continues to handle most of the work the Hanban once did. Per China’s Global Times, it maintains responsibility to “coordinate Chinese language learning resources, make standards for teaching and support training for teachers and compilation of books.”44 Some universities that kept their Confucius Institutes after CLEC and CIEF split signed new memoranda of understanding with both CLEC and CIEF, our records requests show.45 At universities that closed their Confucius Institutes, CLEC offered to sponsor a new, similar center. Some, like Northern State University, took CLEC up on this offer.46
Hanban’s reorganization has prompted a cascade of rebranding efforts at American universities. Many are eager to ditch the now-toxic name “Confucius Institute” but retain funding and close relationships with Chinese institutions. These institutions have sought to keep aspects of a Confucius Institute without using the name. They understand that the brand “Confucius Institute” has become a political liability, yet they hope to maintain their previous engagement with the Chinese government.
And not just American universities: the Asia Society, too, has kept its Confucius Classroom open but renamed its network of Confucius Classrooms the “Chinese Language Partner Network,” evidently to deter criticism.47
The scale of these rebranding efforts signals how thoroughly the political landscape has changed in the last few years. In our 2017 report, Outsourced to China, we expressed doubt that universities could extricate themselves from Confucius Institutes without jeopardizing other relationships in China. “Confucius Institutes have grown into a central node of US-Chinese academic exchanges, making it increasingly difficult for universities to withdraw from Confucius Institutes without jeopardizing other financial relationships,” we wrote. “Withdrawing from hosting a Confucius Institute is a difficult task…. The agreement may be cancelled before it comes up for its five-year renewal period, but only if there is ‘a national emergency, war, prohibitive government regulation or any other cause beyond the control of the parties.’”48
Changes in federal policy have enabled many colleges and universities to terminate their Confucius Institute contracts using the force majeure clause we quoted in our 2017 report. However, increasingly the Chinese government has also welcomed the closures of Confucius Institutes in the United States as an opportunity to extend its influence in new ways.
The Chinese government’s acquiescence in the closure of Confucius Institutes suggests that even in their waning, Confucius Institutes have served the Communist Party well. A central goal in establishing Confucius Institutes, for the Chinese government, was to bring colleges and universities into closer relationships with Chinese institutions.
Confucius Institutes built those relationships and now fall away, unneeded, like a scaffold after the building is complete.
CLEC and CIEF: Hanban’s Successors
CLEC and CIEF, both successors to the Hanban, appear to duplicate each other in some ways. Both run overseas Chinese language and culture programs. When colleges and universities closed their Confucius Institutes, many wrote to both CLEC and CIEF, and sometimes received responses from both.
But overall we find that CLEC, which is the new name for the Hanban, is running overseas Chinese language programs that are not called Confucius Institutes. CIEF is running Confucius Institutes. Colleges and universities that continue to host Confucius Institutes are doing so under the umbrella of CIEF. Colleges and universities that closed their Confucius Institutes but are operating other Chinese language programs are often doing so with support from either a Chinese university or from CLEC. However, at least one university, Wayne State University, was offered a non-Confucius Institute program, the “Chinese Language Center,” which would have been funded by CIEF.49
Any distinctions between the two organizations are technical. As far as we can tell, CLEC and CIEF run extremely similar programs whose primary difference seems to be in name only.
Charting Confucius Institutes by Year
One hundred eighteen American institutions have hosted a Confucius Institute. Three opened in 2005: the University of Maryland (the first in the U.S.), Chicago Public Schools, and China Institute, a private educational nonprofit in New York City. One year later the number had jumped to eleven, and by 2007 to 31. The number of Confucius Institutes peaked in 2015, when there were 109.
Confucius Institutes by Year
The number of new Confucius Institutes opening per year in the United States has varied greatly. Notably, CIs have continued to open at new institutions even after the rise of concerns about Confucius Institutes’ integrity and neutrality.
Confucius Institutes Opening Per Year
As recently as 2020, Pacific Lutheran University became the new host of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, after the University of Washington transferred the program to PLU. In 2019, three new institutions opened a CI. Two of these had transferred from departing CI hosts: Simpson County Schools took on Western Kentucky University’s CIs, and San Diego Global Knowledge University took San Diego State University’s. One institution, Medgar Evers College, opened a new CI that had not previously existed elsewhere.
The first Confucius Institute to close was Dickinson State University, which canceled its Confucius Institute agreement in February 2012, less than a year after it had signed documents with the Hanban, and before the Confucius Institute had even officially opened. News of the Confucius Institute signing coincided with a public realization that the university had served as a diploma mill for foreign students seeking Western credentials. An audit found that 743 out of 816 students enrolled via partnerships with Chinese and Russian universities lacked English proficiency test scores, submitted fraudulent transcripts, or earned insufficient credits for the degrees they were awarded.50 Dickinson’s accreditor put the university “on notice,”51 and the Confucius Institute closed as well.
The second Confucius Institute to close was at the University of Chicago, in a major decision that made national news. The University announced its decision in September 2014,52 just five months after 108 faculty members signed an open letter denouncing the Confucius Institute53 and three months after the American Association of University Professors came out against Confucius Institutes.54 Within days Pennsylvania State University, too, said it was closing its Confucius Institute.55
The demise of the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago was in part the result of sustained criticism from Marshall Sahlins, an emeritus professor of anthropology at the university. Sahlins had in 2013 written “China U.” for The Nation, the first long-form critique of Confucius Institutes. In that piece, Sahlins had not shied away from criticizing his own university, quoting a colleague, Ted Foss, the deputy director of Chicago’s Center for East Asian Studies, that “I can put up a picture of the Dalai Lama in this office. But on the fourth floor [at the Confucius Institute], we wouldn’t do that.”56 Sahlins had been influential in the faculty petition against the Confucius Institute, which read, in part, “the University is participating in a worldwide, politico-pedagogical project that is contrary in many respects to its own academic values.”57
But the Chinese government also had its own missteps to blame. Having learned about faculty opposition to the Confucius Institute, Hanban director-general Xu Lin reportedly contacted the university to convey that “Should your college decide to withdraw, I’ll agree” – a sentence the New York Times reported “in Chinese … carries connotations of a challenge.” The Jiefang Daily enthusiastically declared that Xu’s “attitude made the other side anxious. The school quickly responded that it will continue to properly manage the Confucius Institute.”58
When the University of Chicago announced its termination of the Confucius Institute, it cited “recently published comments about UChicago in an article about the director-general of Hanban,” which it took as “incompatible with a continued equal partnership.”59
Penn State, for its part, said it terminated the Confucius Institute because some of the university’s “goals are not consistent” with those of the Hanban.60
The action taken by the University of Chicago, despite its national attention, failed to spark a sustained movement. Besides Penn State, no other universities closed Confucius Institutes in 2014. Nor did any the following year. In 2016, Pfeiffer University did—by way of transferring its Confucius Institute to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Only in 2017 did the sustained downward trajectory of Confucius Institutes begin.
The following chart shows the number of Confucius Institutes that closed per year. In 2017, three closed, followed by ten in 2018, 23 in 2019, 27 in 2020, and 34 in 2021. Already in 2022, four more have closed or have announced they will close by the end of the year (Houston Independent School District, Southern Utah University, Valparaiso University, and University of Akron). Another two have announced their intention to close but have given no date (Alabama A&M University and Bryant University).
Confucius Institute Closures Per Year
Why Confucius Institutes Close
Most of the criticisms surrounding Confucius Institutes involve threats to national security, infringements of academic freedom, and the problem of censorship. But these are rarely the reasons colleges and universities give when they announce plans to close a Confucius Institute. The most frequently cited reasons are the development of alternative partnerships in China, and changes in U.S. public policy.
Only five of 104 institutions cited concerns regarding the Chinese government’s relationship to Confucius Institutes—and two of these five proclaimed that all national alarm was due to the mismanagement of Confucius Institutes by other universities.
We tracked the reasons colleges and universities have given for closing their Confucius Institutes. We drew primarily on four sources: letters the institutions sent to the Chinese government or their Chinese partner university; letters the institutions sent to a U.S. government body, often the Department of State; internal announcements to the staff, faculty, and campus community; and statements published on the institutions’ own websites or published by the media. In a few cases where we could identify no stated reason, we contacted the institution and asked for a statement. By using both public and internal statements made by institutions, we put together the most complete explanation to date of the motivations behind Confucius Institute closures.
In our documents database online at https://data.nas.org/confucius_institute_contracts, you may download and read these documents for yourself. In Appendix II, you may also see a chart offering quotes from the universities on why they closed their CI.
We organized these reasons into ten categories. They are, in order of popularity: replacing the Confucius Institute with a new Chinese partnership (40); U.S. public policy (33); replacing with a university-run Chinese program (23); the expense of hosting a Confucius Institute (9); insufficient students (7); the reorganization of the Hanban (7); COVID-19 (6); transferring the CI to another institution (6); and concern about the Chinese government (5). Thirteen colleges or universities gave unique reasons we categorized as “other.” Seventeen gave no reason whatsoever.
Some institutions gave multiple reasons, and we counted them all. Rather than attempt to reduce each institution to a single reason (a process with a high degree of subjectivity), we permitted institutions unlimited reasons for the purpose of our study. Hence the total number of reasons cited (149) is larger than the number of institutions that closed a Confucius Institute (104).
Reasons for Closing Confucius Institutes
Replacing Confucius Institutes with New Partnerships in China
Setting up a new partnership with a Chinese institution is the single most frequently cited reason for closing a Confucius Institute. Forty of 104 institutions (38 percent) say they are replacing the Confucius Institute with a new partnership, often one that is quite similar to the Confucius Institute. Many others do in practice arrange for alternative engagement with China, even if they do not say this in the same statement in which they announce the closure of the Confucius Institute.
The University of Massachusetts Boston called for “a new model, a different arrangement,” in an announcement of Confucius Institute’s closure sent by Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman and Provost Emily McDermott to the “University of Massachusetts Boston Community.” Newman and McDermott added that they hoped to maintain pieces of the Confucius Institute under a new name: “We have been in conversations with Renmin University in Beijing about ways to continue some of the Confucius Institute’s activities through our standing university-to-university partnership with them.”61
The University of Michigan sought to develop new partnerships with Hanban. In a public statement, the university announced, “U-M is in communication with Hanban, exploring alternative ways to support the greater U-M community to continuously engage with Chinese artistic culture.”62 In a letter to Hanban, Vice Provost James Holloway pitched Hanban on the idea of “a new model for collaboration between the UM and Hanban,” and listed a number of programs and schools Hanban could “engage with.”63 (For a more detailed profile of the University of Michigan, see “Replace the CI.”)
The University of Nebraska Lincoln hoped “that this is only a new phase in the partnership between UNL and XITU,” an acronym for Xi`an Jiaotong University, its Confucius Institute partner. This letter, from Chancellor Ronnie D. Green to Wang Shuguo, urged a new agreement in time to keep the Confucius Institute teachers on campus.64
In a letter to Hanban, University of Oregon Dean Dennis Galvin described a “commitment, in a post Confucius Institute era, to maintain and indeed expand” partnerships with East China Normal University.65
The University of Tennessee Knoxville lauded its CI for “laying the groundwork for a strong partnership with Southeast University” on which it intended to build further joint programs.66
Central Connecticut State University President Zelma R. Toro hoped that “once conditions permit,” CCSU and Shandong Normal University would one day be able to “develop new collaborative programs.” In the meantime, she wrote to Shandong President Zeng Qingliang, “Please be assured that CCSU will continue to work bilaterally with Shandong Normal University… in accordance with our Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2007.”67
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville (one of the few that also cited national security concerns) told CIEF and CLEC it intended to close the Confucius Institute “in an amicable and respectful manner so that our partnership can continue many other important programs, projects, and engagements.” Chancellor Dennis J. Shields specifically cited the Master of Science in Teaching English as a Second Language program as one he hoped to continue jointly with CIEF and CLEC, “as well as other programs and projects in the future.”68
Some institutions apparently prepared in advance for their Confucius Institutes’ closure, having already begun negotiating replacement agreements to continue parts of the Confucius Institute program. Colorado State University stated that “A new agreement will be formalized with Hunan University to continue Chinese language and cultural exchange at CSU.”69 Richard Benson, president of the University of Texas Dallas, wrote that “We will be arranging a new bilateral agreement with Southeast University to continue our mutually beneficial engagements.”70 Benson went on to describe the “newly created UT Dallas Center for Chinese Studies” which would house many of the programs the Confucius Institute once ran. (Indeed, the former director of the Confucius Institute heads this new center.)
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and its Chinese partner university, Sun Yat-sen University had built a number of partnerships outside of the Confucius Institute—with “nearly every school at IUPUI collaborating with SYSU over the course of our affiliation,” IUPUI Chancellor Nasser H. Paydar wrote to Sun Yat-sen University President Jun Luo. Paydar assured Luo that the closure of the Confucius Institute “has no influence over IUPUI’s commitment to the strategic alliance between our institutions.” In the absence of the Confucius Institute, Paydar promised to work “with you and your colleagues at SYSU to explore opportunities to continue to advance the study of Chinese language and culture, building on the legacy of our valued partnership.”71
U.S. Public Policy
Thirty-three institutions blamed U.S. public policy for the closure of a Confucius Institute. In a 2020 letter to Hanban director general Ma Jianfei, University of North Carolina Charlotte’s Interim Chancellor Joan F. Lorden detailed the ways state and federal government officials can influence a university’s decision:
Over the last two years alone, countless hours have been spent responding to inquiries regarding the Institute, including inquiries from members of the local and national media, the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Global Human Rights, the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance, and numerous concerned state and local legislators and citizens. As you are likely aware, there are also several legislative efforts that preclude UNC Charlotte from maintaining its Confucius Institute. Since 2019, the National Defense Authorization Act has prohibited UNC Charlotte from receiving language program funding from the U.S. Defense Department due to the presence of the Institute, and there is additional pending federal legislation that could result in substantial consequences for the university unless we terminate the Agreement. More recently, legislation was introduced in the North Carolina General Assembly that would prohibit any constituent institution of the University of North Carolina, including UNC Charlotte, from operating a Confucius Institute as soon as the start of this academic year, and render private colleges and universities with a Confucius Institute ineligible to receive scholarship funds from the State of North Carolina. UNC Charlotte must be as prepared as possible for the potential impact of this legislation.72
Valparaiso University President José D. Padilla likewise spelled out the power of U.S. public policy in this public statement from 2021:
First, some members of Congress reached out to the University in 2020 and earlier in 2021, questioning the presence of CIVU [Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University]. A federal law, the National Defense Authorization Act, already prohibits the Defense Department (DOD) from funding research at any university with a Confucius Institute. DOD funding is not the only federal funding at risk, Department of Education (DOE) funding may also be. Just this past March, DOE funding and Confucius Institutes were intertwined in a bill, S.590, which the U.S. Senate passed by unanimous consent. (Unanimous consent means that no U.S. Senator objected to this bill.) This bill would impose tight restrictions on funding from DOE (other than student financial aid) to colleges hosting Confucius Institutes. A potential cut-off of DOE funding would be devastating to our financial position. This is not a risk we can take.73
Padilla went on, however, to insist that although his decision followed close on the heels of an investigation by Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita, the “wave of closures [of other Confucius Institutes] and the other factors above are the reasons for my closing CIVU, not the Indiana Attorney General’s (AG) investigation into CIVU.”74
Of the 33 colleges and universities that cite public policy as a reason for the Confucius Institute’s closure, 19 cite the potential loss of federal funds. Eleven specifically cite by name the National Defense Authorization Act, which barred certain grants from the Department of Defense to colleges and universities with Confucius Institutes.
“The passage of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 has adversely affected the University of Maryland’s ability to both host a Confucius Institute and receive certain federal funding,” University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh wrote to Ma Jianfei, director general of CLEC, in 2020. “Our subsequent application for a waiver from the relevant terms of this legislation was not accepted. As such, we are unfortunately unable to continue hosting the Confucius Institute at the University of Maryland.”75
San Francisco State University President Leslie E. Wong issued a statement that “The John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 specifies that Department of Defense (DoD) funds cannot be used to support a Chinese language program at an institution of higher education that hosts a Confucius Institute….San Francisco State is unable to operate both the Confucius Institute and the Chinese Flagship Program, and will close the Confucius Institute.”76
The University of Washington, one of our case studies described in greater detail later in this report, told Hanban it was “very disappointed to be forced to choose between hosting CIWA and pursuing this new opportunity” to host a Department of Defense-funded Chinese Language Flagship Program.77
Three universities cited warnings they received from the State Department. The University of New Hampshire mentioned “a series of probes/inquiries/investigations from the Justice, Education as well as the State Department.”78 University of Oklahoma spokesperson Kesha Keith told Grand Lakes News that “the U. S. Department of State conducted an inquiry into the Confucius Institute housed at OU.”79 The University of Missouri, which is reported to have violated visa rules,80 discreetly cited “guidance from the State Department.”81
Interestingly, the University of Pittsburgh did not mention the State Department, but merely said “The CI-Pitt program has experienced increasing scrutiny by U.S. federal agencies.”82 In fact one year before the CI formally closed, the university had “suspended” the CI after the State Department found that all the CI teachers scheduled to arrive at the university failed to meet visa regulations.83
Replacing Confucius Institutes with University Programs
Twenty-three universities said they would replace the Confucius Institute with their own, in-house programs. However, 13 of these 23 also said the CI would be replaced by a new partnership with a Chinese entity—suggesting that the university-run program they envisioned was actually one run in partnership with a Chinese institution, often their former CI partner.
Temple University, for example, announced it would “not receive any further direct funding from the Chinese government in connection with” the Confucius Institute, and would instead open a new Center for Chinese Language Instruction to be “funded, housed, and managed by Temple University’s Office of International Affairs.” However, in order to “offer these language courses, Temple and its College of Liberal Arts will partner with Zhejiang Normal University,” which had been Temple’s CI partner and the source of its CI teachers.84
Many universities described their new program as the culmination of the Confucius Institute. “After ten years of grant-funded support for the Confucius Institute, UTSA is now ready to graduate its China-related language and culture programs into a more robust environment, UTSA East Asia Institute,” University of Texas San Antonio Vice Provost Lisa Montoya wrote to Wang Jiaqiong of the University of International Business and Economics. Montoya added that “the Confucius Institute’s activities will transition to the East Asia Institute as of June 30, 2019.”85
North Carolina State University promised to “provide our institutional funding to continue the CI’s planned academic, cultural and service programs,” using the “infrastructure and momentum” built through the Confucius Institute.86
The University of Texas Dallas suggested to Hanban that the closure of the Confucius Institute was “in the spirit and stated intent of Article 7 [of the university’s agreement with Hanban] that the program ultimately become self-sustaining, independent of contributions from Confucius Institute Headquarters.”87
Ten of the 23 institutions announced plans to develop their own replacement programs without announcing, at the same time, plans to develop new partnerships with Chinese institutions: Chicago Public Schools, Pace University, Purdue University, the University of Akron, the University of Idaho, the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the University of North Carolina Charlotte, the University of Miami Ohio, and the University of Montana.
Yet, at least four of these (University of Idaho, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, University of Montana, and Purdue University) did in fact operate these programs in partnership with their former CI partner. (We offer further analysis in the section “What Happens After a CI Closure” as well as a chart in Appendix I.)
Nine colleges and universities said the Confucius Institute was too expensive—a reason that surprised us, given that the Chinese government typically funds most costs associated with a CI. The Chinese government typically asks host universities to cover fifty percent of the Confucius Institute’s operating expenses, but most do so by offering classroom and office space and other in-kind contributions.
“Due to the budget situation in Alaska,” University of Alaska Anchorage Chancellor Cathy Sandeen informed Hanban that it would close the Confucius Institute.88 At the time, the university was preparing for a 41 percent budget cut precipitated by decreased state oil revenue.89
University of Iowa President J. Bruce Harreld blamed “a twenty-year disinvestment in public higher education by the State of Iowa and back-to back budget cuts by the Iowa legislature.” In his letter to Hanban, President Harreld added, “If we could find a way without university funding to continue to provide the valuable outreach activities that our Cl has undertaken over the past twelve years, we would do so.”90
Too Few Students
Seven institutions said the Confucius Institute attracted too few students. “Goals were set at the beginning of the contract and, unfortunately, we have not met them through the CI partnership,” University of West Florida President Martha D. Saunders wrote to Jing Wei of Hanban in 2017. She said “very few UWF students” had participated in trips to China and there was “limited demand” for Confucius Institute classes.91
“Declining enrollment in the program has made it difficult to continue its support,” Miami Dade College Interim President Rolando Montoya wrote to Hanban in 2019.92 “We have seen a decline in student enrollment in Mandarin coursework,” University of South Florida System Vice President Roger Brindley wrote to Hanban in 2018.93
Reorganization of Hanban
Seven institutions blamed the reorganization of Hanban, which renamed itself the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation and split off a separate nonprofit, the Chinese International Education Foundation, to manage Confucius Institutes.
“The University of Southern Maine does not consent to this change and therefore declines to accept the transfer of the brands of Confucius Institute and Confucius Classroom to The Foundation,” President Glenn Cummings and Provost Jeannine Diddle wrote to Yang Wei of the Chinese International Education Foundation and Ma Jianfei of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation.94
The Colorado State University Office of the General Counsel wrote to Hunan University that “Due to the deregistration of the organization, CSU has decided to terminate any agreements affiliated with the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China.”95
Six universities blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for precipitating the closure of a Confucius Institute.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Central Connecticut State University's (CCSU) Confucius Institute’s (CI) ability to conduct its programming, much of which relies on international travel to and from the United States and China,” President Zulma Torro explained to Hao Pan of CLEC.96
UCLA wrote in an email to NAS that “there was an urgency to focus the university’s resources and expertise on pressing world issues, such as the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.”97
Transferring the Confucius Institute
Six universities said they intended to find a new home for the CI by transferring it elsewhere: Pfeiffer University, San Diego State University, the University of Maryland, the University of Arizona, the University of Washington, and Western Kentucky University. It is unclear if the University of Maryland did find a new host for its CI, but the other four did, as described in the section “What Happens After a CI Closure.”
University of Washington Vice Provost Jeffrey Riedinger told Hanban that “I am personally leading efforts to identify an appropriate alternate host institution.”98
“It was always our plan to find alternative solutions to keep the K-12 program alive,” Western Kentucky University President Timothy Caboi told the CI Headquarters. “We are pleased to inform you that the Simpson County Board of Education has agreed to be the new host site for the program.”99
San Diego State University told Hanban its program was “sufficiently mature that it deserves continued development within the school system here in San Diego County.” President Adela de la Torre wrote, “We are delighted that you have accepted our recommendation to transfer our existing CI education initiatives and services to a local educational partner independent from SDSU.”100
Concern about the Chinese Government
Despite widespread public concern about the Chinese government’s ulterior motives for supporting Confucius Institutes, only five universities referenced these concerns.
Two laid out possible problems with Chinese government interference, but concluded this had not been the case at their university.
University of Wisconsin-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields gave to CLEC and CIEF an overview of various concerns that have circulated:
Over the past two years, the United States of America and its Department of State have raised serious concerns as to the scope of the People’s Republic of China and Beijing’s influence over higher education institutions, both nationally and globally.... Unfortunately, due to these recent and continued concerns raised by the United States federal government and public officials as well as the recently enacted legislation, I have reached the difficult decision to end the UW-Platteville Confucius Institute.101
Shields was adamant, though, that the University of Wisconsin had good experiences with Hanban: “I stress that UW-Platteville’s relationship with the Confucius Institute and SCUN has been positive, transparent, and engaging.” Shields added that “My hope is that we can work together to make this change in an amicable and respectful manner so that our partnership can continue many other important programs, projects, and engagements.”102
University of South Florida System Vice President Roger Brindley wrote to Hanban that “USF is increasingly troubled by these concerning national reports.” Brindley emphasized that “the USF CI has operated with a high degree of integrity and professionalism at all times,” though “CI’s at other universities in the United States have come under increased and persistent scrutiny by elected government officials.”103
Northwest Nazarene University, however, said with apparently genuine concern, “We made this decision because of broad national security concerns and legislation that was pending at that time.”104
Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M both closed their Confucius Institutes after a single decision by the Texas A&M System Chancellor John Sharp. Sharp gave a concise statement to The Dallas News, citing a letter Texas A&M received from two Texas Congressmen, Republican Michael McCaul and Democrat Henry Cuellar. “They have access to classified information we do not have. We are terminating the contract as they suggested,” Sharp said.105
Despite Chancellor Sharp’s concerns, Texas A&M President Michael K. Young promptly wrote to A&M Chinese partner, Ocean University, assuring them that “I believe, and hope you will agree, that the partnership between our two great universities is broader and deeper than any one grant alone.” Young added that he was “committed” to “continued enhancements of our research collaborations” and that he believed “even more collaborations will be forged and our partnership will be stronger.”106
Thirteen universities gave reasons unique and therefore uncategorized—but most of them are extremely vague.
The University of North Florida issued a statement claiming that “After reviewing the classes, activities and events sponsored over the past four years and comparing them with the mission and goals of the University, it was determined that they weren’t aligned.”107
Kennesaw State University, in an internal announcement, said it was “realigning its global focus to its current strategic priorities.”108
A few, however, are notable. The University of Chicago closed its Confucius Institute in 2014, following a showdown with Hanban Director General Xu Lin, described in greater detail above. The university issued a public statement announcing the closure of the Confucius Institute, explaining that “Recently published comments about UChicago in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership.”109
Kansas State University terminated its Confucius Institute in 2019 and promptly invited Hanban to renegotiate. “This termination shall become effective June 12, 2019,” Provost and Executive Vice President Charles S. Taber wrote to Hanban on December 11, 2018. But “if we can reach mutually acceptable terms,” Taber wrote, the university would “consider entering into separate, new agreements related to a Confucius Institute.” He invited Hanban to “Please contact Grant Chapman, Associate Provost for International Programs,” to discuss the possibilities.110 In fall 2019, Chapman did reach out to Hanban with a proposed revised contract for a Confucius Institute.111 But in February 2020, Taber again wrote to Hanban, noting without explanation that “Kansas State University has decided not to continue to pursue new agreements related to a Confucius Institute at the University at this time.”112
Clark County School District, one of the few K-12 hosts of a Confucius Institute rather than a Confucius Classroom, told us by phone it had withdrawn unwillingly from the Confucius Institute, because “The main reason was we were not able to get licensable teachers to teach Chinese in Nevada.”113 At the time, Clark County hoped to resume bringing Hanban teachers from China, suggesting this Confucius Institute closure could have been temporary. In 2020, however, Chief Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Officer Brenda Larsen-Mitchell wrote to Hanban that the school district “will be withdrawing from the Confucius Institute Program,” though she did not give a reason.114
Response from China
We tracked the responses colleges and universities received from Chinese institutions reacting to news that the Confucius Institute would close. Of the 104 CIs that have closed, we were able to collect responses to 44. In 27 cases, Hanban/CLEC/CIEF responded; in 9 cases, Chinese universities responded. Both Hanban and a Chinese university responded in 8 instances.
Some universities denied that Hanban or their Chinese partner university ever responded to the announcement that the CI would close. Others did not provide documents in time for publication. In Appendix III, we print excerpts from all the responses we know about. The original documents are available in our online database at https://data.nas.org/confucius_institute_contracts.
We organized these responses into six categories: praising the CI’s accomplishments (Hanban 31; Chinese university 8); expressing regret (Hanban 28; Chinese university 3); asking the university to protect the CI’s reputation (Hanban 27; Chinese university 3); inviting the university back to CI or similar programs (Hanban 11; Chinese university 14); expressing shock (Hanban 19; Chinese university 4); and praising CI alternatives the university had mentioned (Hanban 7; Chinese university 1). (Most of the responses contain several of these seven elements; these have been counted more than once.)
The following chart shows the most common responses from Hanban/CLEC/CIEF and from Chinese universities.
Response to Confucius Institute Closures
What the chart cannot show, though, is the shift in the Chinese government’s reaction over time. Responses from Hanban were initially characterized by shock and indignation, then by mere regret, and finally by well-coordinated efforts to woo colleges and universities into new partnerships. In the following section, we first examine this shift, and then turn to the remaining reactions from Chinese institutions.
Initially, the Chinese government reacted to the news of Confucius Institute closures with shock and indignation. We identified 19 Hanban responses and four Chinese university responses with these characterizations. In some cases, Hanban demeaned the university’s decision and accused the university of caring too much about U.S. federal public policy. Some Chinese universities threatened to retaliate by severing all other ties outside the CI (and at least one did so).
“I am deeply shocked that you informed us of terminating our cooperation all of a sudden and decided to close the Confucius Institute at the University of Rhode Island due to the influence of John McCain National Defense Authorization Act,” Hanban Deputy Director-General Ma Jianfei wrote to David M. Dooley, President of the University of Rhode Island, in January 2019.115
To Miami Dade College, Ma Jianfei wrote “with astonishment and disappointment” regarding the “unilateral announcement of the University to conclude the Confucius Institute.” Ma inferred that the college had acted “due to the political pressure, for which we deeply regret because it is against our Agreements.”116
The University of North Florida (UNF) received one of the most scathing responses. Ma Jianfei of Hanban wrote, “I am deeply shocked that you informed us of terminating our cooperation all of a sudden.” Ma recounted how the “Confucius Institute Headquarters has attached great importance to and fully supported the development of” the UNF Confucius Institute, and emphasized that the Chinese teachers dispatched by Hanban “have paid tremendous efforts for this mission.” Ma concluded, “their achievements are worth respecting.”117
UNF received a second response, from Shaanxi Normal University (SNNU), its partner in the Confucius Institute, protesting that “We were very shocked when we got the Confucius Institute Termination Notice, which cannot be accepted.” SNNU President You Xuqun accused UNF of “such a disappointing decision” that “reflects that UNF didn’t value the relationship with SNNU.” Xuqun declared that SNNU would therefore terminate the “cooperative relationship” and all other partnerships the two universities had developed outside the Confucius Institute.118
Ocean University, likewise, threatened Texas A&M with the cessation of all other partnerships outside the Confucius Institute. President Yu Zhigang wrote “to express how shocked and confused I am” that Texas A&M would close its Confucius Institute. Yu warned that criticisms of Confucius Institutes could “impair the cooperation between our two universities that we have maintained for years, and even put into risk the long-term education exchange and cooperation between China and U.S.” Yu concluded with a hope that Texas A&M might “continue to support the development of Confucius Institute” and that Ocean University would be able to “work together with you to further our cooperation” on the CI.121
Hanban reproached the University of California Davis for closing its Confucius Institute after a Chinese university had donated personal protective equipment, “especially right after the outbreak of the COVID-19, as the Chinese partner of CI program, Jiangnan University has donated 2000 masks to UC Davis.” Hanban then insisted UC Davis had not followed the proper closure procedures by failing to give six months’ notice. “This action is undoubtedly with little respect to the Chinese partners and a violation of the contract,” Hanban wrote to Chancellor Gary S. May.122
The University of Missouri, too, received an indignant response from Hanban. The University had been audited by the State Department, which found evidence of visa misuse, but Hanban claimed the closure of the Confucius Institute was “a step beyond our understanding.” Ma claimed the university “showed little respect to the Chinese partners” and even “hurt the feelings of the Chinese teachers and volunteers.”123 Of course, “hurting the feelings of the Chinese people” is a CCP catchphrase, meant to signify grave disapproval at an affront to the Chinese Communist Party.
A handful of early Confucius Institute closures, however, did not prompt scolding by Hanban. These were at colleges and universities that had taken care to protect the Confucius Institute in various ways. Western Kentucky University had arranged for Simpson County Public Schools to take over the Confucius Institute, such that the CI changed locations but did not close. To WKU, Hanban wrote, “we respect your decision with regard to closure of your Confucius Institute.”124
Some universities, including the University of Texas San Antonio, the University of Texas Dallas, and the University of Massachusetts Boston, had pre-emptively told Hanban they intended to keep some portion of their Confucius Institute program alive. To these, Hanban wrote merely to express “regret” that the Confucius Institute would no longer officially operate.
In mid-2020, “regret” became the dominant response from the Chinese government, not only to those universities that appeared loath to close their CI, but to others as well.
We categorized 28 responses from Hanban/CLEC/CIEF and three from Chinese universities as expressing regret. Some indignant, shocked responses also used the word “regret.” Hence there is some overlap in the responses we categorized as “shocked” and “regretful.” Yet, by mid-2020 the shocked language began to disappear and was replaced almost entirely by language expressing sadness and regret.
Increasingly, these responses from the Chinese government relied on templates, as if the government had developed a form letter to send in response to CI closures. This change coincided with Hanban’s reorganization. Letters, usually now coming from the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation, frequently declare that “as a partner, your university won't be able to take the obligations of the Agreement any more due to the pressure of receiving the federal funding, for which we deeply regret.”125
Hanban and CLEC frequently cited COVID-19 as well, implying that the Confucius Institute helped alleviate the pandemic in some way. “The raging COVID-19 pandemic is all the proof that human society should strengthen cooperation to fight against the virus,” one typical letter to Savannah State University reads. “It's with regret and disappointment to learn about the University’s decision to close the Confucius Institute at the Savannah State University (CISSU) at this critical time.”126
To the University of Idaho, CLEC Director General Ma Jianfei added, “the COVID-19 pandemic has further testified to the importance of international collaboration.” He claimed that “To end such an excellent and down-to-earth program would severely undermine the internationalization of the University.”127
Sometimes, the Chinese International Education Foundation, rather than CLEC, responded. To Portland State University, CIEF President Yang Wei wrote, “It is to be regretted and lamented” that the Confucius Institute would close.128
Seeking to Establish Alternative Ties
Hanban, CLEC, CIEF, and Chinese universities have all encouraged American universities to develop alternative partnerships: in 11 instances by Hanban/CLEC/CIEF, and in 14 cases by Chinese universities.
A handful of early CI closures prompted offers of new types of exchanges, especially from Chinese universities, but in 2021, CLEC began using a template response letter making a standard offer to every university that closed a Confucius Institute. For instance, in this letter to Stony Brook University, CLEC wrote that
Though your university gave up the Confucius Institute, we believe that your university will still value the relationship with Chinese institutions. We are supportive of your plan to explore a new structure of cooperation with Zhongnan University of Economics and Law to maintain and deepen the long-lasting partnership with Chinese institutions.129
At times, Chinese institutions suggested that when the political winds change, American universities might choose to resume their Confucius Institute. CIEF wrote to Portland State University, “If condition permits in the future, PSU is welcome to come back to CI family.”130
Huazhong University of Science and Technology wrote to “propose the establishment of a Chinese Language Center at WSU [Wayne State University] between our two universities with the support of the Chinese International Education Foundation” Huazhong University included the caveat that “we understand that this may take some time, given current political considerations.”131
Chinese universities appeared consistently enthusiastic about promoting alternative arrangements, including CI-like arrangements funded by CIEF, as Huazhong University proposed to Wayne State University. Chinese universities have also proposed programs similar to Confucius Institutes but funded by the Chinese university itself. Jinlin Li, President of South-Central University for Nationalities, wrote to University of Wisconsin Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, suggesting that “we work together on a university level to continue to offer Chinese Language credit courses and Chinese Kungfu programs.” He added that “SCUN will gladly continue funding this operation.”132
University of International Business and Economics President Wang Jiaqiong described the Confucius Institute “as a symbol of China’s unremitting efforts for world peace and international cooperation,” and proposed to the University of Texas San Antonio that “in the future our two universities can further deepen our cooperation and promote exchanges.” Jiaqiong offered to fly to San Antonio to “ensure the continued cooperation” and “make more efforts on the issues of the construction of CI by the two universities.”133
Vice President of Renmin University, Du Peng, told the University of Massachusetts Boston, “I hope we can find other ways of cooperation in the near future….Once again, I hope to highlight our willingness to maintain, deepen and strengthen our continued partnership with UMass Boston. Please feel free to contact me or my colleagues about any future possibilities.”134
Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, in a letter to Stony Brook University, wrote that “We share the same opinion with you on this point that the closure does not mean the end of our partnership. Instead we will strive to maintain and strengthen the tie between us.” The letter concluded optimistically, “We believe that a win-win situation will be ultimately achieved between Stony Brook University and ZUEL.”135
Praising the CI’s Accomplishments
Nearly every response from Hanban/CLEC/CIEF listed specific achievements of the CI: 31 of 36 responses (86%) did so.
For instance, Ma Jianfei, then Deputy Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, wrote the University of Texas San Antonio:
It has made satisfactory achievements and won high recognition by providing impressive activities to the local community, such as the Confucius Wishing Lanterns on the Water, the Ford River Float Parade, NBA Spurs on-court performance, and the UTSA Confucius Institute China Immersion Program. These fantastic opportunities not only provide the U.S. people with Chinese experience, but also help more Chinese people have a better understanding of the charm of San Antonio, which of course contributed greatly to the promotion of educational and cultural cooperation and exchanges between the two countries.136
Eight Chinese universities also responded by praising the CI. You Xuqun, President of Shaanxi Normal University, told University of North Florida President David Szymanski:
The Confucius Institute has made much contribution to UNF and to the community. ... All the faculty and students who participated these activities benefited a lot and many of them established a very good friendship. The Confucius Institute Board Meeting gave a high appraise to the efforts and achievements and contributions made by Confucius Institute at UNF and appreciated what SNNU supported. It is obvious that Confucius Institute at UNF and SNNU played a very positive and irreplaceable role in the past years.137
“Protect the Reputation”
One common line from Confucius Institute contracts—a command to avoid “tarnishing the reputation” of the Confucius Institute—has resurfaced in many of the letters Chinese institutions sent American universities that closed their Confucius Institutes. Nearly every letter from Hanban, CLEC, and CIEF (27 of 36), as well as three from Chinese universities, ask the American university to protect the reputation of the Confucius Institute even as it closed down.
In 2018, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine wrote to Augusta University, asking it to minimize publicity: “I sincerely hope that you and our faculty currently assigned to your CI can keep the disengagement courteous and low profile.”138 True to its word, Augusta University never publicly announced the Confucius Institute closure. (We discovered its closure only in 2021, during a routine check of all Confucius Institutes.)
Many letters from Hanban read, as in this example to North Carolina State University, “As your partner, we cherish the bilateral cooperation and sincerely hope you and North Carolina State University will protect the Confucius Institute’s reputation.”139 Some added the admonition to “appraise this cooperative program objectively and fairly, clarify the untrue criticism and statements about the Confucius Institute.”140 Letters sent in 2021 by CLEC often asked the university “to justify for the Confucius Institute and protect its reputation.”141
In at least three letters, to Stony Brook University,142 Cleveland State University,143 and the University of South Carolina,144 CLEC Director General Ma Jianfei offered his opinion of recent criticism of Confucius Institutes:
The stigmatization of Confucius Institutes deviates from the real practices of our cooperation. It is groundless political bias. History will prove that such behaviors are absolutely wrong and short-sighted. We are hoping that you and your university will protect the Confucius Institute’s reputation as always, and facilitate the public understanding of a real Confucius Institute through various channels.145
Hanban sent a to-do list for the University of Missouri, advising on how to handle publicity. Ma Jianfei asked the university to “work in concerted efforts with us” to “protect the CI’s reputation.” Ma suggested the university locate an earlier internal review that had upheld the CI’s value, and asked “that the Evaluation Report could soon be released on University website and through other influential media channels, so that the general public could have a rightful knowledge of the CI.”146 (University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright wrote back that the report was already publicly available, and the university would not recirculate it.147)
Southeast University Vice President Wang Baoping suggested that he and University of Texas Dallas had a “consensus we have reached accordingly,” namely “toning down the closing event to the utmost of your power.”148 Indeed, the University of Texas Dallas issued no announcement that it was closing its CI. Instead, it published on its website an article titled “University Establishes New Center for Asian Studies,” whose only hint that the CI had closed was a line stating that the new center would “expand” on some of “the University’s earlier initiatives, namely the Confucius Institute and the Asia Center.”149
Praising Alternative Plans
Some American universities had announced replacements for the CI. Seven times Hanban/CLEC/CIEF responded approvingly, and once a Chinese university did so.
“Your recognition for CI, Soochow University and Director WANG Yu in the letter leaves me even more convinced of the value of CI and its bright future,” CIEF President Yang Wei wrote to Portland State University. “I trust that our cooperation in the CI program is the valuable asset to our all, and I sincerely wish that PSU and Soochow University can continue to cooperate in fields including the Chinese language teaching in the new mode.”150
“I am more than happy to learn that you plan to strength [sic] the tie with Beijing Foreign Studies University,” CI Headquarters wrote to the University of Hawaii. “I hope your efforts will come to fruition.”151
Responses from Hanban, CLEC, and CIEF frequently included a one-page addendum outlining practical tasks to complete the CI closure. Typically this involved calculating whether any funds remained that should be returned to China; identifying any textbooks, assets, or other equipment purchased by the Chinese government, which were then either shipped to China or donated to a Confucius Institute or Confucius Classroom still in operation; and taking down the official “Confucius Institute” plaque. Usually the American university was also asked to put together a “complete” file of the Confucius Institute’s programs and events during the entirety of its existence.
Often, Hanban, CLEC, and CIEF asked the American university to buy flights to China for Confucius Institute staff, and to pay for their possible extra expenses, such as “penalties for breach of leasing contract and the unfunded tuition prepaid for their kids,” as this exhortation to the University of Texas Dallas reads.152
We consider these issues in more detail below in the sections “Refunding China,” “What Happens to Confucius Institute Books and Supplies,” and “What Happens to Confucius Institute Staff.”
What Happens After a CI Closure
Upon closing a Confucius Institute, universities frequently replaced it with some other partnership with Chinese institutions or transferred the CI elsewhere.
Frequently the replacement is a “new” center operated in partnership with the same Chinese university, run by the same people who staffed the Confucius Institute, or funded by Hanban/CLEC/CIEF. Often, it looks like the CI under a new name.
Other times, universities developed new partnerships with their Chinese partner universities, or maintained pre-existing partnerships outside the CI. Others transferred the CI to another institution, ensuring that the Confucius Institute did not really close but changed locations. Some universities engaged in several of these strategies at once.
We were able to track information for 75 of the 104 CIs that have closed in the United States. Information on all 75 is available in Appendix I.
Of these 75, 28 replaced the CI with a similar program, and another 12 sought to replace the CI (though we could not verify if the university had succeeded in doing so). Fifty-eight maintained relationships with their Chinese partner universities, and five more sought to do so. Five transferred the CI elsewhere, and three attempted to do so.
Actions Post-Confucius Institute Closure
Replace the CI
At least 28 universities replaced their Confucius Institute with a similar program, and another 12 may have done so. Sometimes these replacement programs are so closely modeled on CIs that we are tempted to call them renamed Confucius Institutes.
Northern State University, one year after closing its CI in 2019, signed an agreement with the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation, Hanban’s new name. CLEC will “dispatch Chinese language teachers” and pay their salaries and travel costs, just as Hanban did for the CI. Northern State University is responsible for providing classroom space, offices, teachers’ housing accommodations and health insurance, much as it did for the CI.153
Georgia State University replaced its CI with the Chinese Language and Culture Program, which it runs with Beijing Language and Culture University, its former CI partner. The two universities signed an agreement establishing the new Center the same month the CI closed, in July 2020,154 and then renewed the agreement in 2021.155
In announcing the CI’s closure, Georgia State University had said it would “support the study of Chinese language and culture through the Office of International Initiatives in cooperation with our valued partner, BLCU,” and described the replacement program as an opportunity “to build on and expand the many achievements of the Georgia State CI.” The university also planned that “The staff formerly affiliated with the CI will transfer to this new initiative” and run the new center.156
The agreements Georgia State signed do include some improvements on the original CI agreements. They pledge better protections for intellectual freedom and promise that American law, not Chinese, will govern the program. Yet Beijing Language and Culture University will help staff the program, just as it did with the Confucius Institute, and much of the institutional structure is substantially similar.
The College of William and Mary, too, replaced its CI with the W&M-BNU Collaborative Partnership, run in partnership with Beijing Normal University, its former CI partner. One day after the CI closed on June 30, 2021, the two universities signed a new “sister university” agreement establishing the program. The Collaborative Partnership appears intended to extend the programs the CI offered, including also “joint research activities, publications, and library exchanges” and “exchanges of faculty members and students for study, teaching and research.”157 William and Mary’s old Confucius Institute website now redirects to the new W&M-BNU Collaborative Partnership.
Western Michigan University (WMU) and its former CI partner, Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), signed an agreement “on cooperation of Chinese Language and Culture Programming” to go into effect on January 1, 2021, one day after the CI closed on December 31.158 Just as with the CI, Beijing Language and Culture University is responsible “for appointing a Senior Visiting Scholar (similar to the CI’s Chinese co-director) and Chinese teachers, plus pay their salaries, travel costs, housing costs, and health insurance. WMU provides space, assists on visa applications, provides unspecified “fiscal support,” and arranges academic exchanges.
The agreement specifies that WMU’s Director of Asian Initiatives will direct this new program. Ying Zeng, who currently fills that position, was previously director of the Confucius Institute.159 The agreement sets out a governing board whose membership matches the CI’s advisory board (three members from each university, including the president or provost from WMU and BLCU’s chairman).
Just as Hanban and BLCU did for the CI, so too BLCU is “responsible for providing curriculum” as well as handling “textbook selection.” The BLCU-appointed Senior Visiting Scholar is “responsible for overseeing and coordinating all BLCU provided teachers and staff,” just as the CI’s Chinese co-director had been.
Michigan State University “transferred” CI programs “to other offices engaged in similar, internationally focused education and work” within the university160 and signed a new General Agreement with the Open University of China, its former CI partner.161 Temple University replaced the CI with the Center for Chinese Language Instruction, operated in partnership with Zhejiang Normal University, its CI partner.162 Binghamton University, whose CI had focused on Chinese theatre, opened the new Center for Theatre Arts Collaboration, in partnership with the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts, Binghamton's former CI partner.163 The University of Idaho opened the Idaho Asia Institute, operated in partnership with South China University of Technology, its CI partner.164
The University of Massachusetts Boston said it was moving to “a new model” to “continue some of the Confucius Institute’s activities through our standing university-to-university partnership” with Renmin University, Boston’s CI partner.165 The university did sign a new, broad Memorandum of Understanding with Renmin University in January 2019, the same month the Confucius Institute closed.166
The University of Michigan announced publicly it was “in communication with Hanban, exploring alternative ways to support the greater U-M community,”167 and indeed Vice Provost James P. Holloway wrote Hanban pitching “a new model for collaboration between the UM and Hanban.”168 In October 2018, Holloway and other university colleagues arranged to meet in Beijing with Hanban. The meeting was to include Lester Monts, who at that time simultaneously “serves as a strategic advisor to both the University of Michigan and to the Hanban.”169
Where other universities refunded money to Hanban upon closing a CI, the University of Michigan received more than $300,000 from Hanban in May and June 2019, just as the CI was closing in June. As recently as 2020, the university’s foreign gift disclosures to the Department of Education displayed these transactions:
University of Michigan Section 117 Disclosures
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Confucius Institute Headquarters
University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Confucius Institute Headquarters
Since then, the donor name, “Confucius Institute Headquarters,” has been deleted from the University of Michigan’s disclosures, making the gifts anonymous. The University of Michigan has reported to the Department of Education another $13.8 million in anonymous Chinese funding since June 2019.170
We filed an open records request with the University of Michigan, asking for old copies of its Section 117 disclosures, but Patricia J. Sellinger, the university’s Chief Freedom of Information Officer, told us the university destroys these disclosures upon submitting them to the Department of Education.
Maintain Relationships with CI Partners
At least 58 universities maintained a relationship with their former CI partner university, and another five tried to. Many did so in the context of setting up a new replacement program, as described in the previous section. But others did so in a way that is not quite a successor to the CI but more of a precursor.
The Chinese government often encouraged American universities, when they applied for a Confucius Institute, to first establish a sister university relationship with a Chinese university—or at least to sign a general MOU establishing a close relationship. Arizona State University, as described in its case study section at the end of this report, became sister universities with Sichuan University, having been led to believe that doing so would aid its bid to host a CI. (ASU did in fact establish a CI with Sichuan University, and the sister university relationship has survived the CI closure.)
San Francisco State University signed a general MOU with Beijing Normal University, its eventual CI partner, one year before the CI opened.171 It appears to have kept that MOU active. (Upon closing the CI, San Francisco State University also sought continued funding from Hanban to complete a textbook project begun by the Confucius Institute.172)
Texas A&M University signed an April 2006 MOU establishing a broad relationship with Ocean University,173 six months before the two jointly formed the Confucius Institute.174 The University of Oklahoma in 2006 signed an agreement with Beijing Normal University that established not only the CI, but also a number of other partnerships that survive the CI.175
Sometimes CI contracts include clauses that further protect these other relationships in case of a CI closure. The University of Idaho’s 2018 agreement with Hanban says:
In the event of termination, the Parties shall make every effort to effect the termination in such manner as to not affect other contracts or agreements that may exist between them, and shall ensure that programs of instruction and other activities are completed in a responsible manner that does not adversely affect students and other participants.176
Other universities developed additional partnerships while the CI was still in operation, and kept these new partnerships alive even as the CI closed. The University of South Florida in 2017 signed a “university-wide general collaboration agreement” with Qingdao University, USF’s CI partner, an agreement that survived the CI’s closure.177
The University of Wisconsin-Platteville continues to operate a Master of Science in Education degree for Chinese students in China, via a partnership with its former CI partner, South-Central University for Nationalities.178 It also apparently developed a Master of Science in Teaching English as a Second Language in partnership with CIEF and CLEC. Writing to both organizations to alert them to the CI’s closure, Chancellor Dennis J. Shields wrote that “I look forward to our continued partnership in offering the Master of Science in Teaching English as a Second Language, as well as other programs and projects in the future.”179
Five universities transferred the CI to a new host, and another three may have done so.
Pfeiffer University sent its CI to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; San Diego State University moved its CI to San Diego Global Knowledge University; the University of Washington spun its CI off to Pacific Lutheran University; and Western Kentucky University conveyed its CI to a local school district, Simpson County Schools. Kennesaw State University transferred its associated Confucius Classrooms and most of its CI supplies to Wesleyan College.
The closure process at both the University of Washington and Western Kentucky University are described in detail in the case studies sections at the end of this report.
The University of Maryland attempted to hand off its CI, though it is unclear if it did so. University President Wallace D. Loh attested to CLEC that
My staff has been in communication with your staff as we have sought alternative channels through which the Confucius Institute can continue to provide teachers to local schools and valuable educational programs to the public. We are working to help transition programs to a new local partner.180
Miami Dade College, at Hanban’s request, sent leftover CI funds to the Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance, discussed further below.181 The University of Arizona told Hanban it would “help identify other institutions or non-profits … that might be interested in hosting a Confucius Institute,”182 and Hanban promised to “work closely with you to transfer the Confucius Institute to a new partner.”183
Many colleges and universities refunded money to the Chinese government upon closing a Confucius Institute. Most were asked to return any unspent funds the Hanban (and later CLEC and CIEF) had provided. Those that had erected a Model Confucius Institute Building, funded by Hanban and intended for long-term use by the Confucius Institute, faced more serious penalties, often exceeding $1 million.
The Hanban (and later CLEC and CIEF) generally asked former CI hosts to return all unused funds to China. A typical request was to “provide us with the CI's final accounting statement,” and to return “the balance of the funding” along with “the equipment and assets purchased with the funding from the former Headquarters, the books and cultural appliances provided by the former Headquarters and CI’s plaque, etc.”184 (The display of the plaque, which features the Confucius Institute logo, was required at all CIs.)
In many cases, Hanban accepted as the “final accounting statement” a report on the last year’s expenses and receipts. But sometimes Hanban demanded that CI hosts produce detailed financial statements showing every transaction since the opening of the CI, as in the case of Kennesaw State University in Georgia.185 Kennesaw refunded at least $31,000 to Hanban and was embroiled in a months-long dispute over whether it owed additional funds.186
Email correspondence between Kennesaw and Hanban shows that Hanban repeatedly changed its formula for calculating the amount due. Hanban also insisted that Kennesaw repay the cost of stipends Hanban had paid directly to CI Chinese teachers. Kennesaw’s situation was complicated by its former CI director, Ken Jin, who emailed Hanban promising payments the university had not authorized. In January 2020, after Hanban threatened to sue the university, Kennesaw proposed “settling our differences” by offering to refund an extra $19,250.187 It is unclear whether the dispute has been resolved.
Augusta University, on the other hand, found itself prepared to refund more money than Hanban wanted.188 Augusta calculated that it owed Hanban $117,183, but Hanban believed the university owed $31,573 less, insisting that Augusta had miscalculated.189 Augusta agreed to accept Hanban’s calculations. (Augusta may have earned favor with Hanban by working to close its CI in a manner that protected Hanban’s reputation. Augusta’s partner university, the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, had specifically asked the university to “keep the disengagement courteous and low profile,”190and Augusta had complied, never publicly announcing its CI closure.)
In 2019, Hanban began routinely asking institutions not only to return unspent Hanban funds, but also to cover moving costs for CI teachers. For instance, Hanban asked Arizona State University to “take the responsibility to compensate all involved,” including paying for any penalties for broken leases, lost tuition payments for teachers’ children, and flights back to China.191
In one unusual case, Hanban asked Miami Dade College to send funds to a third party, the Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance, discussed further under “Nonprofit Middlemen.”192
Penalties on Confucius Institute Buildings
Three institutions owed penalties for early withdrawal from their Model Confucius Institute contracts: the University of Maryland, the University of Hawaii Manoa, and Western Kentucky University. (A fourth, the University of Memphis, signed an agreement to build a Model Confucius Institute Building, but withdrew before the beginning of construction, returning Hanban’s entire $900,000 investment, but owing no penalties.193)
The University of Maryland, the first American university to open a Confucius Institute in 2005, had signed an additional agreement in 2015 committing Humphrey House at 8701 Adelphi Road, College Park, Maryland, as the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute.194 Hanban provided $900,000, which constituted 100% of the renovation budget. The agreement was to last ten years, though the agreement held that Hanban “anticipated that the Confucius Institute of Maryland would continue to use the Dedicated Site after the conclusion of the agreement.”195
The agreement provided a formula to calculate penalties for early withdrawal ($7,500 per month left unfulfilled in the 10-year commitment), but when in 2020 the University of Maryland severed ties with its Confucius Institute, Hanban asked for the entirety of its investment in the Model Confucius Institute to be returned.196 The University of Maryland complied, sending back all $900,000.197
The University of Hawaii Manoa in 2015 signed an agreement with Hanban for the Dedicated Site for the Model Confucius Institute. The university agreed to set aside 6,000 square feet on the first floor of Moore Hall in the south makai wing, to be renovated and decorated with a budget of $1.25 million. Hanban provided $1 million; the University of Hawaii provided $250,000. The Confucius Institute was to use the space for 30 years.198
The agreement set forth withdrawal penalties per year, but when the University of Hawaii closed its Confucius Institute in 2019, it disagreed with Hanban about applying the formula. Hanban believed the promised 30-year period began upon completion of renovations (resulting in a refund of $913,000), while the university suggested the timeline started with the signing of the agreement (for a refund of $866,667).
Hanban reiterated its belief that its calculation was correct, but offered that “Out of our goodwill to maintain a good relationship… we intend to agree with your calculation.”199 Hanban’s letter closed with an exhortation to “maintain” a relationship with Beijing Foreign Studies University (the University of Hawaii’s CI partner), as well as an invitation: “When the circumstances become more favorable in the future, we would be more than happy to support the UH to re-embrace the CI program.”200
Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 2014 signed an agreement with Hanban to construct a building for the Confucius Institute. The university set aside space on Normal Drive in Bowling Green. Hanban and WKU each contributed $1.5 million. The Confucius Institute was to enjoy “exclusive right of its use on a permanent basis (or at least for 50 years).”201
WKU’s Model Confucius Institute Building sparked significant backlash on campus, described in more detail in our case study section below. WKU President Gary Ransdell had promised to fulfill half of WKU’s funding obligation with money taken from the university’s Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology, a coal technology lab that was already closely entwined with the Confucius Institute at a time that the Chinese government was targeting clean coal technology.
In severing ties with Hanban in 2019, WKU argued it owed Hanban no penalty at all, because the agreement set forth penalties only in the event of a unilateral decision. WKU held that its decision fell into the category of “force majeure,” because the National Defense Authorization Act barring Department of Defense funds to universities with Confucius Institutes “renders the performance…impossible.”202 Still, the university offered $678,000 “as friendly negotiation,” which it calculated as the penalty that would be owed in the case of a unilateral termination.203
Hanban rejected WKU’s calculation. Instead it proposed (without explanation) that “the penalty calculated by our lawyers is $1,883,300204—a sum larger than Hanban’s original investment in the building. Three years later, Hanban and Western Kentucky University are still embroiled in litigation regarding the building.205
Fear of repaying the Chinese government is, we suspect, a major reason some institutions have retained their Confucius Institutes. Troy University in Alabama, for instance, also has a Model Confucius Institute Building, a $14 million addition to Bibb Graves Hall, funded in part by an $8 million gift from former Governor Bob Riley.206 When in 2020 the Alabama State House considered legislation to bar Confucius Institutes in the state, Troy’s Chancellor Jack Hawkins personally intervened to oppose the bill.207
Troy’s most recent agreement with Hanban, signed in 2018 for a five-year term, permits Hanban to cancel the agreement early, but would penalize Troy’s early withdrawal. Troy would owe “all the damages incurred” to Hanban, including “all the investment made under this Agreement, the legal expense and the indemnity for defamation.”208
What Happens to Confucius Institute Books and Supplies?
Hanban (and later CLEC and CIEF) generally asked colleges and universities to choose between mailing books and supplies back to China, or giving them to another Confucius Institute or Confucius Classroom. But in some cases, when Hanban (and CLEC and CIEF) wrote to a college acknowledging a CI closure and giving final instructions, it made no comment on books and supplies. This is the case for some (though not all) institutions that maintained partnerships with Chinese universities or transferred CI programs in-house, such as the University of Texas Dallas, the University of Hawaii Manoa, and the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign.
The standard request regarding books and supplies is to prepare “the equipments [sic] and assets purchased with the funding from the Headquarters, the books and cultural appliances provided by the Headquarters and CI’s plate.”209 (The “plate” refers to a plaque with the CI logo.) Either “the Headquarters will collect” these appurtenances, or the institution may “transfer the above assets to a local partner institution under friendly discussion if necessary.”210
Some universities that replaced the CI with a similar partnership program were given more discretion, suggesting that they may have kept the CI books and supplies. Binghamton University, whose CI had focused on Chinese music and theatre, replaced its CI with the Center for Theatre Arts Collaboration, operated with its former CI partner, the National Academy of Chinese Theatre Arts. Rather than give instructions, CIEF asked Binghamton to propose what it wished to do with its CI supplies. “Under the premise of ensuring that the relevant assets are still used in Chinese teaching programs, please determine the usage of the assets after discussing with NACTA, and inform CIEF of the results,” CIEF President Yang Wei wrote to Binghamton University President Harvey Stenger in 2021.211
Portland State University (PSU), too, was allowed to decide what to do with its CI books and supplies: “Please determine the usage of the assets after discussing with Soochow University, and inform CIEF of the results,” CIEF President Yang Wei wrote.212 Yang was responding to Portland State University’s notice of intent to close the CI, in which Portland State had avowed its desire to keep alive partnerships forged through the CI. “I want to strongly reiterate that our commitment to Soochow University as a highly valued and key strategic institutional partner remains unchanged,” PSU President Stephen Percy had written, adding that PSU was “even more committed to our partnership moving forward” and hoped to “deepen our relationship with Soochow.”213
Kennesaw State University kept 22 boxes of CI books for use by its Foreign Language Department. It sent the remaining books to the CI at Wesleyan College and to nearby K-12 schools.214
What Happens to Confucius Classrooms?
Confucius Classrooms are miniature versions of Confucius Institutes operating at K-12 schools. They are generally offshoots of a Confucius Institute at a local college or university, which handled paperwork and visas, and negotiated finances with Hanban on behalf of the school. The closure of a Confucius Institute therefore jeopardized the status of surrounding Confucius Classrooms.
A number of Confucius Classrooms, though, have survived the closure of their sponsoring Confucius Institute. It is unclear what percentage remain open, in part because there is no comprehensive list of Confucius Classrooms in the United States. But Hanban, CIEF, and CLEC have endeavored to keep Confucius Classrooms alive. Many colleges and universities, even as they close their CIs, have also worked to find ways for Confucius Classrooms to remain open.
Hanban generally asked colleges and universities that were closing a CI to look out for their associated Confucius Classrooms. In one typical letter, the CI Headquarters wrote, “You might be well aware, there are 26 Confucius Classrooms affiliated with the Confucius Institute at San Diego State University.” The letter continued, “We hope that we will further discuss the subsequent arrangement of these Confucius Classrooms and pursue proper solutions to address the current students’ needs of learning Chinese language and culture.”215 San Diego State University did in fact transfer its entire CI operation, including sponsorship of Confucius Classrooms, to San Diego Global Knowledge University.216
San Diego’s arrangement is the simplest way for a Confucius Classroom to stay open – by transferring to another CI host. Sometimes this happened when a university transferred its entire CI operation to a new university, as with San Diego State University sending all programs to San Diego Global Knowledge University. The University of Washington, too, transferred its entire CI to Pacific Lutheran University. Western Kentucky University recruited a school district, the Simpson County Public Schools, to host the CI, including surrounding Confucius Classrooms, with the aid of former WKU CI director Terrill Martin and his consulting group, BG Education Management Solutions.
Sometimes, a university closed its Confucius Institute, but still transferred the Confucius Classrooms to another already-existing Confucius Institute. Kennesaw State, for instance, arranged for Wesleyan College to oversee the Confucius Classrooms that KSU had once sponsored.217
The Chinese government also created new opportunities for Confucius Classrooms, overhauling its organizational structure to allow Confucius Classrooms to exist without a sponsoring CI. San Francisco State University forwarded a Hanban email to its Confucius Classrooms, offering three options for continuing operations after the university closed its CI. Hanban suggested the Confucius Classrooms should look for a new CI sponsor, but also offered two alternatives: negotiate directly with Hanban to run the Confucius Classroom without a CI intermediary; or band together into an Alliance of Confucius Classrooms.
SFSU told schools that Hanban recommended a minimum of eight schools to form an alliance, but would consider applications with as few as five.218 A number of San Francisco-area schools prepared to apply to Hanban as the Northern California Confucius Classroom Consortium.219
What Happens to Confucius Institute Staff?
Not all Confucius Institute staff return to China upon the closure of a Confucius Institute.
Some CI staff remained at the same college or university even after the Confucius Institute closed. Georgia State University, upon closing its Confucius Institute, immediately launched the Chinese Language and Culture Program in partnership with Beijing Language and Culture University, its CI partner. “The staff formerly affiliated with the CI will transfer to this new initiative,” Associate Provost Wolfgang Schlör explained in an internal announcement to university colleagues.220
The University of Kansas asked its teachers from Central China Normal University to stay past the closure of the CI, offering to pay them with the university’s own non-CI funds. “The University of Kansas would like the four CCNU interns to remain for the entire academic year, as previously planned, and the University of Kansas will provide the necessary stipend to cover the interns’ living expenses,” Chancellor Douglas A. Girod wrote to CCNU President Zhao Lingyun.221
The University of Nebraska Lincoln sought to negotiate a new agreement with its Chinese partner university, X’'an Jiaotong University, in time to “allow the teachers currently in Nebraska to complete the academic year.”222 Chancellor Ronnie Green told Xi'an Jiaotong University he hoped to close the Confucius Institute in a way that would mark “a new phase in the partnership between UNL and XITU,” and authorized university funds to keep CI programs running until the two universities could settle the terms of a new agreement.223 Seven months later, in April 2021, the University of Nebraska Lincoln did sign a new agreement with XITU.224
The University of Hawaii Manoa invited at least two CI staff to remain on campus past the closure of the CI. The university offered each the title of “Visiting Colleague” in the Department of Second Language Studies in the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, but required each to provide his own funding.225
Portland State University (PSU) sought to keep its Chinese co-director, Yu Wang, who had come from Soochow University. PSU said that “the legacy of collegiality, cooperation and goodwill left by Soochow University faculty and staff over the years, especially our current Co-Director Dr. Yu Wang, has left PSU even more committed to our partnership moving forward.” The letter urged Soochow University to permit her to “remain involved with PSU as we deepen our relationship with Soochow.”226
Some universities transferred staff to other universities whose CIs remained open. Kennesaw State University “is transferring the Chinese language programs and Cl teachers to Confucius Institute at Wesleyan College,” Kennesaw’s CI director Ken Jin told Hanban in 2019.227 However, Kennesaw also planned that another “three staff will be moving from CI to DGA [Division of Global Affairs].”228
A number of CI teachers have also congregated at BG Education Management Solutions, a nonprofit organization started by Terrill Martin, the former director of the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University. Martin launched both the nonprofit (which holds a DBA as “Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky”) and a for-profit counterpart, Martin Global Enterprises, an unusual arrangement we describe in greater detail in the next section, as well as in the WKU case study section.
Martin told us in an interview that he recruited teachers from CIs that were closing, including four from Xavier University and some from a university in Minnesota. (Martin declined to provide the name of the university, but the University of Minnesota is the only Minnesota university to have closed a Confucius Institute.) Martin said he had been unable to recruit enough teachers directly from China, due to Covid travel restrictions and the fact that “half of [the teachers he requested] got denied visas,” so he “had to rely on other CIs that closed and transferred teachers to us.” Martin also suggested that some teachers remained in their current Confucius Classrooms, needing his organization merely to serve as a visa sponsor.229
American non-profits have played a key role in keeping Confucius Institute programs alive, including BG Education Management Solutions, run by Western Kentucky University’s former CI director, Terrill Martin; the Great Lakes Chinese Consortium, a partnership run by eight institutions that currently or formerly hosted CIs; the Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance; and Alliance for Education. Another, the U.S.-China Common Concern Committee, has promoted a “replacement” program similar to a CI.
BG Education Management Solutions
BG Education Management Solutions is a nonprofit founded by Terrill Martin, the former CI director at Western Kentucky University. Martin runs the group along with his wife, Kay Martin, and Wei-Ping Pan, a former WKU chemistry professor who helped found the Confucius Institute. Martin, his wife, and Pan also run a for-profit consulting group, Martin Global Enterprises. Both the nonprofit BG Education Management Solutions and the for-profit Martin Global Enterprises focus exclusively on facilitating partnerships with China.
In 2019 Western Kentucky University severed ties with its Confucius Institute and recruited a local school district, the Simpson County Public Schools, to become the new host of the CI. Martin, who had been director of the CI for Western Kentucky University, left the university to direct the CI for Simpson County Public Schools.
BG Education Management Solutions holds a DBA (“Doing Business As”) for the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky, and is contracted by Simpson County Public Schools to manage the Confucius Institute.
BG Education Management Solutions has also helped Chinese teachers associated with closed CIs find new employment in the United States, including teachers from closed CIs at Xavier University in Louisiana and from an unnamed university in Minnesota. At least some of these teachers found jobs in Kentucky at the Simpson County Schools’ CI.
Martin also helped some teachers stay in Confucius Classrooms in Louisiana and Minnesota, where they worked prior to their sponsoring CI’s closure. Having lost their visa sponsor when these universities closed their CIs, the teachers found a new host in the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.230
We describe the unusual circumstances surrounding BG Education Management Solutions and Terrill Martin in greater detail in the “Western Kentucky University” case study section.
Great Lakes Chinese Consortium
The Great Lakes Chinese Consortium, which began in 2020, is an affiliation of eight institutions that once hosted or currently host a CI. Many of these institutions’ now-defunct CI websites redirect to the Great Lakes Chinese Consortium. Of the eight institutional representatives on the “Members” page, seven were previously CI staff.231
Five of the eight institutional partners have closed their CIs: University of Buffalo, Cleveland State University, Michigan State University, Western Michigan University, and Wayne State University. Two of the eight appear to have active CIs (East Central Ohio Educational Service Center and the University of Toledo). For one partner, St. Cloud State University, it is unclear whether the CI remains open.
The Consortium aggregates information on a number of Chinese language courses, some of which are offered by Confucius Institutes.232
One of the Consortium’s partners, Michigan State University (MSU), in 2021 arranged to replace its CI with a new Chinese partnership program, which it described in terms that closely resemble the Great Lakes Chinese Consortium. MSU President Samuel Stanley wrote to CIEF and CLEC to “assure you that CI-MSU’s existing commitments will be fulfilled” and that the CI “programs will be transferred to other offices engaged in similar, internationally focused education and work.”’233
Three months later, MSU signed a new agreement with its former CI partner university, the Open University of China, in which the two pledged “cooperation on and teaching of Chinese language and culture” by means of “electronic instructional media, including credit and non-credit courses.” MSU and Open University of China agreed that the courses would be made available “for third party licensing, direct enrollment, or for sale,” and could be advertised through “third party marketing channels, as well as consortia in which one or both of the parties is a member.”234
Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance
The Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance promotes economic and educational exchanges with China, as well as the interests of Asian Americans in Miami. It describes itself as a “non-profit and non-political organization based in Florida”235 and appears to be registered under the name Greater Miami Asian Coalition for Business, whose registered agent is NAEH Media Group LLC, a media group that operates a Florida Chinese-language newspaper.236 In 2020, when Miami Dade College closed its Confucius Institute, Hanban asked the College to send leftover CI funding to the Alliance, rather than return it to Hanban.237
Since then, the Alliance has launched the Language Bridge 2 Life Program, which like the Confucius Classroom program arranges for Chinese teachers in K-12 schools.238 The Language Bridge 2 Life Program says it provides “grants/assistance/educational materials to Florida K-12 schools to promote language education.” Like Confucius Classrooms, it handles “recruitment” of Chinese language teachers, offers grants, distributes “educational materials,” and arranges summer camps and exchange programs.239
Alliance for Education
Alliance for Education is a Seattle-based nonprofit working to advance “educational justice and racial equity for students in Seattle Public Schools.”240 It claims to provide “fiscal sponsorship services” managing $2 million in donations and disbursements for 120 “school-related groups.”241
One of the groups Alliance for Education has helped is the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, or CIWA, described in greater detail in the University of Washington case study section. CIWA opened in 2009 as a partnership between the University of Washington, Sichuan University, Seattle Public Schools, and Chongqing Municipal Education Commission, using Alliance for Education as CIWA’s “fiscal agent.”
Hanban, the University of Washington, and Seattle Public Schools agreed that Alliance for Education was responsible for “receiving all funds from [Confucius Institute] Headquarters and other sources” and “distributing the funds in accordance with the directions of Headquarters.”242 Alliance for Education, in a separate agreement, reserved to itself the right to approve all applications to Hanban, and to charge fees of up to 7% on all funds it disbursed to CIWA.243
When in 2020 the University of Washington cut ties with CIWA and arranged for Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) to takes its place, PLU also authorized Alliance for Education to serve as “fiscal agent,” receiving, disbursing, and charging fees on Chinese funds on behalf of PLU and Seattle Public Schools.244
U.S.-China Common Concern Committee
The U.S.-China Common Concern Committee (the “UC4”), was founded in 2020 under the umbrella of the RYAN Program, which the UC4 describes as a nonprofit that “leads a variety of international peace, collaboration, and friendship initiatives.”245 In May 2020, UC4 approached at least one university, New Mexico State University (NMSU), offering a “viable replacement” program for its Confucius Institute.
Kenneth R. Chester Jr., identifying himself as a “Founding Committee Member,” wrote NMSU and described UC4 as “an independent bilateral organization with the goal of politics-free collaboration on issues necessitating cooperation between the two superpowers, from disease prevention to food security and beyond.” NMSU had recently announced it would close its Confucius Institute, and Chester suggested they replace it “via a collegiate chapter of the UC4.”246 Chester promised that UC4 could “engage the entire university and its sister schools in China in extracurricular and curricular activities” that would “promote free discourse and academic independence.”247
New Mexico State University did not respond to Chester’s email, assistant general counsel Mariah Ortiz told us.
UC4’s website promotes “a ‘Sister Cities’ Mindset,” and calls for “people-to-people and expert-to-expert connections.” The Chinese version of its website says that “within four seas all men are brothers,” and that it seeks “community with shared future for mankind” – both common CCP catchphrases.248
We profile four universities in detail: the University of Washington, Western Kentucky University, Arizona State University, and Purdue University.
University of Washington
The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) opened in 2010 as a partnership between the University of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, Hanban, Sichuan University, and Chongqing Municipal Education Commission. It sprang from negotiations between the Chinese government and Washington state, which recruited the University of Washington to serve as host. In 2019 the University of Washington severed ties with the Confucius Institute, leaving CIWA in the hands of a placeholder organization, International Education Washington. In 2020 Pacific Lutheran University became CIWA’s new host.
In this case study, we describe how the idea for a Confucius Institute originated in a meeting between former Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and former Chinese President Hu Jintao at Bill Gates’ home in 2006. We show how Pacific Lutheran University sought to become the original home for the Confucius Institute but was rejected by China, and how the University of Washington was reluctant to accept but eventually capitulated. We document the Confucius Institute’s reliance on a third-party “fiscal agent,” Alliance for Education, enabling the University of Washington to sidestep federal law requiring disclosure of foreign gifts. We describe the Confucius Institute’s unusually close relationships with corporations, including Microsoft – relationships highly valuable to the Chinese government. And we detail how, even after the University of Washington severed ties with the Confucius Institute, it considered partnering with it in other ways via the Confucius Institute’s new host, Pacific Lutheran University.
This case study draws on some 900 pages of documents received via Freedom of Information requests that are available in NAS’s public database at https://data.nas.org/confucius_institute_contracts; news coverage, press releases, and other publicly available materials in both English and Chinese; and interviews with University of Washington faculty and administrators.
The Idea of a Confucius Institute
In April 2006, Chinese President Hu Jintao kicked off his state visit to the United States with a stop in Seattle. Over dinner at Bill and Melinda Gates’ home, he and Christine Gregoire, then governor of Washington, discussed opening a Confucius Institute. In an interview with NPR, Gregoire said that she and Hu “discussed education and the need for greater education exchange. So, he and I talked about a Confucius Institute in Seattle, and a Washington education institute for students and teachers in China.”249 Hu’s meeting with Gregoire culminated in a Memorandum of Understanding to establish new ties between Chinese and Washington state schools, including the formation of a state-wide Confucius Institute.250
Publicly, Gregoire was a bit cagey about whose idea the Confucius Institute was. Her staff, internally, attributed the initiative to Hu: “When she met with President Hu, he offered to establish a Confucius Institute in Washington state.”251 But Xu Lin, then Hanban director general, preferred the narrative of Gregoire appealing to Hu, personally requesting that documents be revised to present Gregoire as the initiator.252 In the end, a press release from Gregoire’s office claimed she proposed the Confucius Institute to Hu.253
The idea of a Confucius Institute found a warm welcome in Seattle. A few months earlier, in January 2006, International Education Washington (also known as the Washington State Coalition for International Education) had hosted a summit at which some sixty representatives of businesses, schools, and government agencies proposed that ten percent of all Washington students should learn Chinese by 2015.254 The group said its “inspiration”255 came from a 2005 Asia Society report, “Expanding Chinese Language Capacity in the United States,” that praised Hanban, and its director general Xu Lin in particular, for having “renewed their commitment to expanding Chinese-language capacity in the United States.”256 This coalition quickly became a major proponent of establishing a Confucius Institute.
Enthusiastic about the 2006 MOU with Hu, International Education Washington pushed Gregoire to take action quickly. In 2007, when no Confucius Institute had yet materialized, the group’s Chinese Language Core Team wrote to Gregoire to “strongly recommend that your office put these plans to create a Confucius Institute into motion.” The group warned that “it has now been more than a year since President Hu’s visit and the signing of the MOU” and “we are concerned that a lack of initiative in this matter may be perceived negatively by the Chinese.”257 (Six months later Gregoire’s office did receive a letter from the Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco inquiring about the status of the CI.258)
Others also helped push for the CI’s launch. Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) and the Peninsula School District sought to establish the Confucius Institute on the PLU campus,259 which the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco rejected as a “nonstarter.”260
The Washington State China Relations Council (WSCRC), “the oldest nongovernmental organization advocating at the state level for increased trade connections with the People’s Republic” and “the leading statewide organization dedicated to promoting stronger commercial, educational, and cultural engagement with China” in the United States,261 played an active role in CIWA’s opening as well. WSCRC convened meetings among potential CI hosts and pushed especially for a prominent university to become CIWA’s home. In particular the group disliked Pacific Lutheran University’s bid to host CIWA, with WSCRC’s deputy director writing
I believe we are squandering a golden opportunity if, after the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington State and the high level meeting between the Governor and President, that all we have to show for our efforts is a modest Confucius Institute on the campus of PLU, serving the limited interests of the students represented in the Peninsula School District.262
Gary Locke, who preceded Gregoire as governor of Washington, chaired a group of businesses and other parties interested in the Confucius Institute, hosting five meetings over eight months in 2006 and 2007, sometimes at his law firm, Davis Wright Tremaine.263 Gregoire staffer Randi Schaff later described Locke as “instrumental” in “convening statewide stakeholders.”264 Four years later, in 2010, Gregoire personally invited Locke to attend the official opening of the Confucius Institute, though Locke was unable to join.265 (Locke was at the time President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, and a year later became U.S. Ambassador to China.)
Governor Gregoire’s office wanted the University of Washington to serve as CIWA host, with Gregoire staffer Randi Schaff describing UW as “the logical and EXPECTED choice for Governor and China” (uppercase in original).266 “We have both been lobbied about this from folks in Olympia,” then UW Arts and Sciences Dean Ana Mari Cauce wrote in an email thread among UW administrators, discussing Gregoire’s request.267 “The Governor is very anxious for us” to agree to the Confucius Institute, Randy Hodgins, UW’s director of state relations, added.268
Hanban clearly wanted UW as well, having previously rejected Pacific Lutheran University’s bid to host the CI. Hanban “insisted that UW be the location for the higher education part of CIWA,” a UW memo recounted.269 Two consuls from the PRC Consulate General in San Francisco met with UW’s vice provost of global affairs, Stephen Hanson, who reported, “They continue to be very, very interested in placing a Confucius Institute somewhere in Seattle and hope that the UW can still be involved.”270 In 2019, Jeffrey Riedinger, Hanson’s successor and then CIWA director, recalled that “Hanban insisted that the UW host CIWA or it would not approve CIWA.”271
The University of Washington, however, hesitated. Schaff believed the Jackson School of International Studies, as a federal Title VI program with “a national reputation for quality and research” was the best place to house the Confucius Institute.272 But she recognized that the Jackson School disliked the “public perception and spotlight” the CI would bring. Another issue was the school’s “anxiety regarding funding.” The Jackson School “does not have existing people, space or funds to support new work,” Schaff concluded in 2008.273
That year, Robert C. Stacey, then Divisional Dean of Arts and Humanities at UW’s College of Arts and Sciences, put together a committee to conduct a feasibility study. The group, including faculty from both the Jackson School and the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, dutifully proposed to establish a Confucius Institute, noting, however, that “this recommendation is contingent on” a number of preconditions. The group wanted a full-time tenure-track Chinese teacher, additional office space, and a minimum of $70,000 per year for five years raised from outside sources, beyond Hanban’s $100,000 per year contribution. The group cautioned, “The required funds are significant, and the current economic climate, with the possibility that we are entering a long-term recession, will not be favorable.”274
By the end of the year, UW formally declined to host the Confucius Institute. Then Asian Languages and Literature chair Michael Shapiro wrote to Gregoire staffer Schaff, apologizing that “the news here is not good concerning a CI.” Anxious that the Confucius Institute might cost more than Hanban would fund, “the Deans are not willing to make new budgetary commitments,” and “we cannot go forward with a CI.”275
Establishing the Confucius Institute
UW’s turning point came in 2009, when Stephen Hanson, newly appointed vice provost of global affairs, warmed to the Confucius Institute. In January, less than three weeks after taking up the position, Hanson received a visit from two Chinese consuls. Hanson then reported back to his colleagues of his desire to turn the CI into a reality: “I’m confident that we can find a way to make this work!”276
Hanson’s enthusiasm, coupled with renewed pressure from Hanban, led the University of Washington to acquiesce. In March, Hanban announced it would freeze funding for new Confucius Institutes beginning in May, and offered UW a last chance to join. UW would have to partner with North China Electric Power University, Hanban’s preference, rather than UW’s longtime academic partner Sichuan University. To sweeten the deal, Hanban hoped to “entice” the university by doubling its standard founding grant to $200,000.277
As Hanson was “working the issue at UW,” Gregoire’s office, too, worked to find a solution that would satisfy Hanban.278 Uncertain of UW’s commitment, Hanban requested to negotiate directly with Governor Gregoire’s office, and in mid-July, Gregoire’s office circulated a draft MOU that Gregoire intended to sign with the Chinese Ministry of Education. “This is a result of their anxiety over the USA style of collaborative partnership,” Gregoire staffer Randi Schaff explained in a memo to the governor.279
Two weeks later, Hanban reversed course. Schaff declared that “China is in basic agreement with our application and now has confidence in UW’s leadership that was previously lacking.”280 Hanban, too, wrote directly to Hanson, confirming their “great pleasure” that “you are in charge of this work.” Hanban affirmed that “under your leadership, the Confucius Institute of Washington State will make great contributions for the state.”281 Hanson was “key to the collaboration with the Hanban to reach the agreements needed,” Schaff recalled.282
Hanson ironed out the details in a September 2009 visit to Hanban’s headquarters in Beijing. UW would receive $150,000 in funds, and Sichuan University–not North China Electric Power University–would be the Chinese partner university, just as UW wanted.283
Finally in fall 2009, more than three years after Gregoire and Hu formally agreed to open a Confucius Institute, the parties to the CI completed their negotiations. A trio of agreements followed, linking not only the University of Washington, but also the Seattle Public Schools, with Hanban. Seattle Public Schools had become involved when UW initially declined the Confucius Institute.284 Governor Gregoire’s office recruited the school district as a back-up, and it remained involved after UW finally agreed to participate as well.
On September 11, 2009, the University of Washington and Seattle Public Schools signed an agreement with Hanban in China.285 Then on November 12, 2009, Xu Lin, then Chief Executive of CI Headquarters; Phyllis M. Wise, then University of Washington provost; and Maria Goodloe-Johnson, then Superintendent of Seattle Public Schools, signed another MOU.286 On April 26, 2010, Xu, Gregoire, Wise, and Goodloe-Johnson signed an honorary MOU, effective for five years, marking the official establishment of CIWA.287
In reality, these agreements had been “pre-signed” months earlier, a deal Hanson had made with Hanban in order to get early access to funding. Hanson had agreed, too, to three Hanban requests: that the MOU claim the Confucius Institute was Gregoire’s idea, not Hu’s; that the MOU would honor the Confucius Institute by-laws and constitution; and that the MOU would specify that Hanson’s authority, as director of the CI, would be exercised “in close cooperation with Hanban.”288 All three requests were reflected in the final agreements, with the April 2010 agreement signed by Gregoire claiming that “Governor Christine Gregoire proposed the idea to President Hu to found a Confucius Institute.”289
The day Xu signed the final MOU, Denny International Middle School hosted an opening ceremony for the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.290 (Chief Sealth International High School, the designated host for the Education Center, was under construction, and had asked Denny International to house the Center temporarily.291) Underscoring the significance the Chinese government attached to this particular Confucius Institute, Hanban chief executive Xu Lin attended the ceremony, turning over a shovel of dirt.292 Global Washington, a coalition promoting international education, proudly touted CIWA as “the only statewide CI in the world and the only one utilizing a collaborative effort with schools, businesses, and nonprofits.”293
Washington’s arrangement was unique. The November 2009 MOU provided not only for the “establishment and management of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” otherwise known as CIWA, but also for another new institution called the Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington (or “the Education Center”). CIWA would be hosted by UW, and the Education Center by Seattle Public Schools. Seattle Public Schools, in turn, selected one particular school, Chief Sealth International High School, to host the Education Center.
CIWA would have six directors: an American director and assistant director for both the Education Center and for CIWA at UW, plus a Chinese director at each. CIWA, with its locations at both a school district and a university, had two Chinese partners: Chongqing Municipal Education Commission, paired with Seattle Public Schools, and Sichuan University, partnered with UW.
CIWA thus solidified a longer-term relationship between Washington state and Sichuan, which have been sister provinces since 1982.294 Seattle and Chongqing are sister cities, dating to 1983. And UW has its own decades-long relationship with Sichuan University.
Washington had yet another party involved in the Confucius Institute, Alliance for Education, which the 2009 MOU designated as “the fiscal agent” for both CIWA and the Education Center. As fiscal agent, Alliance for Education was responsible for “receiving all funds from Headquarters and other sources” and “distributing the funds in accordance with the directions of Headquarters.”295 Alliance for Education claimed the right to sign off all applications to Hanban, and charged fees of up to 7% on all funds it disbursed to CIWA.296
As an American nonprofit, Alliance for Education also shielded UW and the Seattle Public Schools from the perception that they received foreign funding––a step crucial to CIWA’s founding as SPS is forbidden from accepting Chinese government money directly.297 Funneling contributions through the Alliance relieved UW of the duty of reporting foreign funding under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act–a sidestep of the law that, though technically legal, averted the transparency interests the law is clearly intended to advance.
Washington state sought to use CIWA to raise funds from businesses. In the state’s final application, submitted by Gregoire to Hanban, the state recounted how both the Washington State China Relations Council and the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle canvassed for funds, “contacting private business companies and institutions to provide financial and in-kind support to the new Confucius Institute.”298 The proposed budget included $40,000 from “external donors,”299 less than the $70,000 UW’s feasibility study proposed, but a significant amount nonetheless. Riedinger, in an interview with NAS, said that by the time he headed CIWA in 2014, corporate partners were not financially supporting CIWA, though they continued to be represented on the board of advisors and to benefit from CIWA’s services in the form of Chinese language classes in downtown Seattle.300
Corporate partnerships were built into the plan from the beginning. Gregoire staffer Randi Schaff recounted in 2008 that the state sought to “design a structure that includes business partners,” which were “critical to establish a sustainable model.” Schaff was delighted that the “WA business community is supportive and poised to fundraise.”301
Washington businesses, for their part, perhaps saw CIWA as one piece in a larger web of profitable connections between the state and China. A year after Gregoire and Hu first agreed to the Confucius Institute, Gregoire presided over another memorandum signing, this time between China’s Ministry of Commerce and Washington’s Community, Trade and Economic Development office. This was the first bilateral agreement between a state and a central Chinese governmental ministry. Some fifty Chinese government officials and business leaders met with Gregoire for the occasion, described by the Seattle Times as “part of a multibillion-dollar buying-and-investment mission.”302
Upon its opening, CIWA returned the favor and offered special language courses for employees of major Seattle-based corporations. CIWA’s Chinese Director noted in a 2012 journal article, “We are excitedly preparing Business Chinese, Legal Chinese, and Intercultural Communication courses for Starbucks and Microsoft employees.”303
Microsoft assisted CIWA in other ways as well. Bill Gates, as mentioned earlier in this section, had hosted the 2006 meeting at which Gregoire and Hu discussed opening a Confucius Institute. And from 2012 to 2013, Shen Yushi, then chair of Chinese Microsoft Employees and of the ten-thousand member Microsoft Asian Employee Resources Group, served on CIWA’s board of directors.304
Shen, during his time at both Microsoft and CIWA, led a delegation to Beijing at the behest of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council, now part of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department.305 Shen also attended a 2012 “China Innovation Conference” in Wuhan, cosponsored by the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, at which he was identified as “executive director of the Confucius Institute in Washington State.”306 The conference aimed at “consolidating the hearts of overseas Chinese, gathering their wisdom, and exerting their power.”307 That same year, he was awarded the honorary title of “World Chinese Model,” for which he was received by both Hu Jintao and Xi Jinping as a representative at the Sixth World Overseas Chinese Association Friendship Conference.308 In 2017, after he left CIWA, Shen was selected as part of the Thousand Talents Program.309
A Wanderer at UW
CIWA, when it opened in 2010, had two homes, the Education Center at Denny International Middle School (later at Chief Sealth International High School), and the Confucius Institute itself, at the University of Washington. Within UW, the Confucius Institute wandered from unit to unit.
Stephen Hanson, then vice provost for global affairs, became CIWA’s shepherd at UW, seeking out an administrative home for it at the university. At first, the CI was housed in the College of Engineering310 and reported to Hanson’s own office, the Office of Global Affairs (OGA), “because he could find no other unit willing to take it,” recounted a 2013 faculty memo to Hanson’s successor, Jeffrey Riedinger.311 Hanson served as the initial CI director.
In 2011, the Confucius Institute moved from OGA to the Jackson School of International Studies. Hanson, leaving for a position at the College of William and Mary, asked the Jackson School to take on the CI, to which it “reluctantly” agreed, “thinking that Hanban funding would help support” programs threatened by Title VI funding cuts.312 Gary Hamilton, then associate director of the Jackson School, became the new CI director.
By 2013, the Jackson School, disillusioned, formally asked that the Confucius Institute be moved back to the Office of Global Affairs. Resat Kasaba, then director of the Jackson School, wrote to vice provost of global affairs Jeffrey Riedinger, noting that current CI director Gary Hamilton was preparing to retire, and all other Jackson School faculty were unwilling “under any circumstances” to head CIWA. Kasaba said China studies faculty in the Jackson School “fear that their scholarly reputations may suffer” if they direct CIWA, and “furthermore, they disagree philosophically with China’s soft power initiatives, of which the Confucius Institutes around the world are the most prominent examples.”313
Kasaba wanted CIWA out of the Jackson School, but refrained from urging UW to drop the Confucius Institute altogether. Leaving the CI would be “politically…very difficult and, I think, very unwise,” because “the Chinese government, through Hanban, uses Confucius Institutes as a way to link universities in China with universities elsewhere.” Kasaba advised, “cutting ties with Hanban is the wrong move,” lest UW lose its “active connection with China.”314
Riedinger agreed in January 2014 to become CI director, and OGA agreed to take back the Confucius Institute. It remained at OGA through its departure from UW in 2019.
The CI found a tepid welcome among UW faculty. The Jackson School was not the only one to treat it hesitantly. The Department of Asian Languages and Literature had its doubts too, with Professor William Boltz writing to Robert Stacey that “for both pedagogical and scholarly reasons, AL&L was not an enthusiastic supporter of the CI when it was established.” Boltz disliked Hanban’s funding structure, which “translates into a scheme where the CI is directly or indirectly determining where our own limited resources are spent.”315
Late in 2014, faculty concerns about the Confucius Institute peaked. Gary Hamilton, the former CI director, circulated a memo signed by five UW partners of CIWA, announcing their decision to disassociate from the Confucius Institute. The Jackson School of International Studies, despite withdrawing as CIWA host, had remained a partner of the Confucius Institute, along with many other programs at UW. Now the Jackson School, along with four others (the Department of Asian Languages and Literature, the Center for East Asian Studies, East Asia Resource Center, and China Studies Program), would no longer apply for Confucius Institute funds and would rescind their partnerships with CIWA. “We have not lightly reached this decision,” Hamilton wrote.316
The memo went to all other UW partners of CIWA, laying out three practical reasons and two principled reasons to disengage with CIWA. The group disliked Hanban’s funding priorities, which the group considered “peripheral” to their own programs. Hanban also treated them as “scheduling agents on campus,” the group felt, expecting UW faculty to “sponsor and host their circulating troupes and speakers” and “stage events on campus that are in line with Hanban wishes.” The memo read, “In supporting their programs, we become Hanban's representatives in the State of Washington.” Third, neither of the two most natural homes for CIWA–Asian Languages and Literature and the Jackson School–wanted to host CIWA–a red flag for Hamilton and his cosigners.
More important, though, were the principled objections. The memo stressed that “none of the above practical reasons would have precipitated our decision had it not been for what is happening with the Hanban leadership and more generally what is happening in China.” The group recoiled at reports that Hanban director general Xu Lin–who had attended CIWA’s opening ceremony four years earlier–had sought to strong-arm the University of Chicago into renewing its CI and had censored a conference program mentioning Taiwan. Such incidents “involve the Chinese leadership of Hanban directly violating the principles of academic freedom,” the memo read.
Such activity convinced the group that, many of them having “devoted most of our academic lives to the study of China and the Chinese,” supporting the Confucius Institute was not “an appropriate way to accomplish” the rigorous study and teaching of Chinese.317
Students, too, expressed concerns. In April 2019, undergraduates representing a campus chapter of Students for a Free Tibet formally wrote to the UW board, asking the university not to renew the Confucius Institute contract. “We feel strongly that the Confucius Institute at UW poses a clear conflict of interest,” the students wrote, outlining how CIWA contradicted “the values of the UW community — integrity, responsibility, respect, equity, academic freedom, and human rights to name a few.”318 Riedinger as CIWA director offered to meet with them and hear their concerns.
As late as 2019, shortly before UW formally withdrew from CIWA, faculty concerns continued to circulate. Robert Stacey (who once had commissioned the original CIWA feasibility study) responded to a colleague who had asked his advice about applying for a CIWA-sponsored trip to China. “I don’t regard our local CI as toxic,” Stacey wrote, “but I am wary of it.”319
Riedinger, for his part, considered UW well informed about the potential risks of hosting a Confucius Institute, which it calculated to be offset by larger benefits. “We were not, as the Director of the FBI at one point suggested, hopelessly naive in higher education about what the risks were,” Riedinger told us in an interview. “We’ve long known how to do classified research, and proprietary research, and all universities have an ever-growing interest in protecting their own intellectual property on the chance that it might be commercializable.” Riedinger told us UW’s experience has taught it to “steer clear of the hyperbole and some of the myths” and “respect what the evidence shows us,” namely that its partnerships are “mutually beneficial, and not engaging in any area which we see as at odds with US economic or security interests.”320
Renewal of the Confucius Institute
In 2014, shortly before Gary Hamilton circulated his memo voicing faculty concerns regarding CIWA, the University of Washington renewed its participation in CIWA for another five years.
UW President Michael Young wrote to Hanban director general Xu Lin on May 27, 2014, confirming his desire to continue hosting CIWA. Responding to Xu’s letter of invitation from February 10th, Young wrote, “We view CIWA as being an important means of facilitating communications and for promoting cultural exchanges and understanding between the students, K-12 teachers, university faculty and citizens of our two countries.” He concluded, “We join you in looking forward to even greater achievements for CIWA in the future.”321
On September 24, 2014, Seattle Public Schools Superintendent Larry Nyland also wrote to Xu, confirming renewal of the agreement for another five years. Nyland ended his letter by noting: “Thank you to Hanban and to you, Madame Xu Lin, for your support, vision, and outreach to the world.”322
CIWA’s Activities at UW
At UW, the CI sponsored lecture series, advertised study abroad options in China, and hosted preliminary rounds of Chinese Bridge, a competition among non-native speakers of Chinese. It offered language classes targeting employees of Microsoft and Starbucks.
The CI also sought out other programs and departments at UW as official partners of CIWA, who would host and advertise CI events and disseminate its library holdings. At least eleven units at UW served as partners of CIWA during its decade at the university.
UW Partners of CIWA
Department of Asian Languages & Literature
East Asia Library
Foster School of Business
Office of Global Affairs
China Studies Program, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
East Asia Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Language Learning Center
Worldwide Exchange Program
College of Built Environments
Department of Comparative Literature
East Asia Resource Center, Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
Partners sometimes co-sponsored programs and events with Hanban funding, including training programs for K-12 teachers, informational events promoting the AP Chinese Language and Culture exam, and an Exploring China Online course, which taught 25 K-12 teachers to “unpack contemporary misunderstandings of China while exploring the many facets of China’s diversity.”323
CIWA also maintained partnerships with a number of other universities. Under these two-year agreements, UW would assist these institutions with their own applications to Hanban for books, curricula, and Chinese teachers. UW advertised Hanban’s Confucius Institute Scholarship Program for students at these universities and sought to recruit faculty for Hanban-funded conferences and research trips to China.
At least seven other Washington colleges and universities partnered with CIWA. In 2019, CIWA director Jeffrey Riedinger wrote that “we partner with all of the public 4-year universities in the state (as well as several private universities).”324 Many hosted Confucius Institute teachers or engaged in other partnerships since early in CIWA’s history, and at least two–Pacific Lutheran University and Eastern Washington University–had previously sought, unsuccessfully, to establish their own Confucius Institutes.325 In 2017 and 2018 many of CIWA’s partners formalized these pre-existing relationships through “letters of intent to cooperate.”
Other Colleges and Universities that Partnered with CIWA
Year Partnership Formalized
Shoreline Community College
Bates Technical College
Central Washington University
Eastern Washington University
Western Washington University
University of Puget Sound
Pacific Lutheran University
Evergreen State College
Washington State University
CIWA maintained a heavy flow of traffic to and from China, with regular visits from Chinese dignitaries and representatives of Chinese partner schools, and frequent trips to China by Americans. In 2012, CIWA staff visited China alongside Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn,326 helping arrange for McGinn to sign an MOU committing the city of Seattle to work with the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission in implementing the 100,000 Strong Initiative.327
In 2016, CIWA’s Chinese director, Wang Wengqiu, returned to China for the Confucius Institute Conference, a gathering of some 2,400 teachers and administrators, where she was awarded the “Global Confucius Institute Advanced Individual” award. The gathering’s keynote address was delivered by Liu Yandong, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, Vice Premier of the State Council, and Chairman of the Confucius Institute Headquarters Council. Sichuan University, Wang’s home institution, commended Wang for being “good at using various propaganda platforms to continuously expand the popularity and influence of Confucius Institutes.”328
In 2019, CIWA worked to arrange a nine-day Hanban-funded trip to China for “senior higher education administrators.” The dates of the trip, scheduled for September 2019, coincided with UW’s decision to withdraw from CIWA.
At the K-12 level, the CIWA Education Center housed by Seattle Public Schools sent CI-sponsored teachers to eight schools located in Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellingham.329
Thanks in part to its involvement with CIWA, Sichuan University was heralded as being among the top Chinese universities to participate in a Confucius Institute.330
UW and Sichuan University
The University of Washington and Sichuan University were long-time partners before the opening of the Confucius Institute, and they have remained close partners since the CI left UW. The two universities collaborated for decades, Riedinger said, and “Sichuan has always been interested in what we were doing outside of the CI.”331
In 2001, UW’s Department of Medical Education began collaborating with Sichuan University on the China Partnership Program, an initiative to train personnel for Sichuan’s Center for Medical Education Research.332 In 2002, the two launched the UW Worldwide Sichuan Exchange, in which some ten to fifteen UW students attend Sichuan University while Sichuan students study at UW.333
UW and Sichuan also partnered on an intensive summer language program, which ended in 2014, under which UW students spent a summer in China completing 160 credit hours in Chinese.334
In 2007, UW and Sichuan University joined with the University of California and World Heritage Site Jiuzhaigou to launch the “Jiuzhaigou Sustainable Development International Joint Laboratory.” The collaboration brought nearly 100 environmental experts to this national park in China.335
In 2007, UW and Sichuan University signed a Memorandum on Cultural, Educational, and Scientific Cooperation, which commended “many years of successful cooperation between our universities.” Under the MOU, the two would collaborate on joint research, “library exchanges,” invitations to each other’s faculty and administrators for lectures and “sharing of experience,” faculty exchanges, and student exchanges. The agreement was set to last for five years and renew automatically in perpetuity.
In 2009, the two signed a Memorandum of Understanding for Cultural, Educational, and Scientific Cooperation. It reiterated many partnerships from the 2007 MOU, but added a goal to “expand ties in the context of supporting the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.”
In 2017, when Sichuan University arranged a conference featuring its five Confucius Institute partners, UW hosted the event. Representatives joined from Arizona State University, the University of Utah, Woosong University in South Korea, and Vrije Universiteit Brussel in Belgium. Among the event’s aims was to “serve the country's ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ Development strategy,” the Chinese news site Sina reported.336
One might think the Confucius Institute would draw UW and Sichuan University closer, and certainly faculty feared that closing the CI would jeopardize relationships in China. Resat Kasaba, director of the Jackson School, had of course counseled against closing the CI even as he asked that it be moved out of his school in 2013. “Cutting ties with Hanban is the wrong move,” Kasaba had written, because “the Chinese government, through Hanban, uses Confucius Institutes as a way to link universities in China with universities elsewhere.”337
Yet other faculty wondered whether the Confucius Institute brought any real value. Robert Stacey, then Divisional Dean of Arts and Humanities in the College of Arts and Sciences, wrote to Michael Shapiro in 2008, questioning whether the Confucius Institute helped the Department of Asian Languages and Literature. “How is it precisely that having a CI would make relations with SU (Sichuan University) for language study easier and better?” Stacey wondered. “I’ve been taking this rather for granted, but on considering the question, find that I don’t really understand how and in what ways this relationship would be easier to establish and promote through a CI.”338
Stacey advised that the Asian Languages and Literature faculty seek to “nourish” the “connection between Asian L&L and Sichuan University with respect to language instruction,” and ignore the Confucius Institute. He feared the university’s priorities regarding China were confused: “Some who wander are lost, and I fear UW is among those, at least with respect to its China policy.” He summed up, “I think we want to press ahead with Sichuan and do what we need to do for our purposes, and let the chips fall where they may with respect to CI.”339
In the end, UW saved its relationship with Sichuan despite disassociating from the CI, in part due to its diligence in finding a new home for CIWA. Riedinger reported “no harmful impact” on the relationship, explaining how UW kept Sichuan “very well informed” throughout the decision-making process, such that Sichuan was “very delighted both at CIWA being kept alive and moving to PLU,” and at “knowing that the many other elements of our relationship with Sichuan University would continue.”340
UW and China
If faculty questioned the value of a Confucius Institute, perhaps it was because UW simply has so many partnerships in China. In 2007, as UW weighed whether to acquiesce to accepting the Confucius Institute, the university opened its first China office in Beijing. Then-President Mark Emmert opened the office to develop the “continuous personal contacts” he deemed “vital to doing business with the government, educational institutions and businesses of China.”341 To run the China office, Emmert appointed Hank T. Wang, previously a law professor and a law-enforcement officer with the Chinese Army.342
In 2015, UW joined with Tsinghua University to launch the Global Innovation Exchange (GIX), a new program offering graduate degrees and professional education in technology and sciences. The establishment of GIX marked “the first time a Chinese research university has established a physical presence in the United States,” UW proudly announced.343 So important was GIX that Chinese President Xi Jinping personally presented the gift of a dawn redwood tree to three GIX principals, then UW President Ana Mari Cauce, Tsinghua University President Qiu Yong, and Microsoft President Brad Smith.344
Like CIWA, GIX was the result of efforts by Christine Gregoire and Microsoft, which donated $40 million to the endeavor.345 Gregoire, then out of office and serving as CEO of the nonprofit Challenge Seattle, traveled to China alongside Ana Mari Cauce, then president of the University of Washington, to promote GIX. (In another reprise of CIWA’s founding, Gary Locke joined the trip too.) Gregoire and Cauce co-wrote a Seattle Times op-ed praising GIX for its “inclusive innovation.”346 During their visit, UW and Tsinghua signed an agreement enabling students at GIX to simultaneously earn master’s degrees from both universities.347
Chinese tech firm Huawei, too, became a valuable partner of UW, contributing nearly $5 million in 2018 and 2019. The University of Washington’s Section 117 disclosures, as of December 2021, showed $4.3 million received from Huawei in 2018 and 2019, plus another $650,000 through Futurewei, Huawei’s U.S. arm, in 2019. (Since then, federal disclosures show, the donor names have been deleted, displaying only the country of origin as China.)
The timeline of the Huawei funding correlates with the university’s refusal to intervene in the case of Vera Zhou, a University of Washington student imprisoned in China in 2017 and 2018. Zhou returned to Xinjiang to visit her father, but was sent to a re-education camp for five months and held under house arrest for another 18 months, allegedly for using a virtual private network to access her homework.348 When the State Department urged the University of Washington to advocate for Zhou’s release, the university refused. In Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s recounting, “the university wouldn’t help because of a multi-million dollar deal with China.”349
The University of Washington vehemently denounced Pompeo’s statement as “flatly wrong” and claimed, “We have no idea what ‘multimillion-dollar deal’ is being referenced.”350
Zhou was eventually released to return to the United States, though “no thanks to the University of Washington and no thanks to the deal that it had made with the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.351
“Closing” the Confucius Institute
In 2019, UW’s Department of Asian Languages and Literature decided to apply to the Department of Defense for funding to launch a Chinese Flagship Language Program. Federal law barred universities from hosting both a Chinese Flagship program and a Confucius Institute. (The law permitted the Department of Defense to issue a waiver, but the Department announced it would not do so.) UW, preferring the Flagship program, opted to withdraw from CIWA–and to transfer CIWA to another university.
Transferring CIWA meant that the Confucius Institute never truly closed. It merely departed from the University of Washington. Seattle Public Schools’ involvement, including hosting the Education Center, remained unchanged, as did the majority of CIWA programs.
Initially, UW explored whether it might be able to keep CIWA while also pursuing the Flagship Program. Paul Atkins of the Department of Asian Languages and Literature suggested if UW “maintained an administrative firewall” between CIWA and the Flagship Program, the DoD might approve the university’s application. Perhaps “the situation will have changed,” Atkins hoped in May 2019.352
Riedinger, then director of the Confucius Institute and head of the Office of Global Affairs, counseled, however, that UW would “at minimum” need to inform the DoD that it would close the Confucius Institute upon approval of its Flagship application. “Even that may not be enough,” Riedinger advised. “We may need to preemptively close CIWA.”353
UW began a turbulent wind-down, complicated by uncertainty as to when precisely CIWA needed to be off UW’s campus: by the time the university was approved for a Flagship program, or even before UW applied for the program. Riedinger reported to President Ana Mari Cauce in July 2019 that closing the Confucius Institute “is regarded as an important signal to the DoD and their reviewers of CFLP applications.” He concluded that the university “would derive greater U.S. prestige and funding” from the Flagship Program than from the Confucius Institute, although the “closure of CIWA would represent a significant blow to Chinese language & culture training across the State of Washington.”354
In mid-September, UW confirmed that the Department of Defense would amend its Flagship Program application process to permit universities to keep their Confucius Institute until 90 days prior to the grant start date. For this, Riedinger offered Sarah Castro, UW’s director of federal relations, “a HUGE shout-out” for “once again working miracles with Congress and the Executive Branch.”355 (Castro is the UW representative who allegedly told Secretary of State Pompeo the university would not intervene to protect its student Vera Zhou, lest it endanger a “multi-million dollar deal with China.”356)
CIWA officially left the University of Washington on January 31, 2020.357 Until then, the university had operated on an ever-changing timetable, preparing at one point for CIWA to depart as early as October 1, 2019.358 UW quickly abandoned October 1st as the closure date after Aihua Liao, assistant director of CIWA, warned Riedinger to “,avoid October 1 as it’s PRC’s national day” (underlining in original).359 When in September 2019 Riedinger did inform Hanban of UW’s decision to cease hosting CIWA, Riedinger noted, “This change is effective no later than 31 December 2019 and, depending on guidance from the U.S. Department of Defense, may need to be effective as early as 15 October 2019.”360
Riedinger told Hanban, as well, that UW would seek out a new home for CIWA. “I am personally leading efforts to identify an appropriate alternate host institution” Riedinger wrote, “so that CIWA’s many valued programs in service to the State of Washington may continue.”361
On September 18, 2019, Hanban deputy chief executive Ma Jianfei wrote to Riedinger, confirming receipt of Riedinger’s letter giving notice of intent to part ways with the Confucius Institute. Ma praised the Confucius Institute for “running openly, transparently, and smoothly in accordance with relevant laws and regulations” and for “complying with the university’s policies on academic freedom.” He noted that the CI had served “nearly 23,000 students” and 150,000 attendants at CI-sponsored events.362
Ma noted a “pleasant conversation” with Riedinger a few days prior, two Hanban directors having visited UW on September 16.363 And Ma confirmed Hanban’s willingness to transfer CIWA, assuring Riedinger that Hanban would “exert itself” and “work together with you to properly handle the transition of the Confucius Institute.”364
Finding a New Home for CIWA
Initially, UW wanted Western Washington University (WWU) to take over CIWA. As early as July 2019, when the university was still considering whether to apply for the Flagship program, Riedinger informed President Cauce that in preparation for the possibility that UW would withdraw from CIWA, “I am attempting to connect with Western Washington University President Sabah Randhawa to discuss whether or not WWU would be interested in hosting CIWA.”365 Riedinger particularly wanted WWU because the arrangement “would have kept the hosting in a public university rather than a private university.”366
Western Washington was interested, having partnered with CIWA for a decade367 and having in 2018 signed a formal Letter of Intent for Cooperation with CIWA, under which Riedinger had helped WWU apply for Hanban funding and teachers. Throughout summer 2019, as UW considered how best to rehouse CIWA, WWU’s associate vice president for academic affairs Brian Burton was in frequent communication with Riedinger about a possible transition.
In late August, though, Western Washington University formally declined to host CIWA, a decision driven by “pressing issues both financially and in terms of infrastructure (primarily space),” Burton wrote. Burton considered UW the “obvious and best home for the Institute,” though “Western could be a good home as well.”368
Western Washington’s decision startled UW, with Michele Aoki, the director of CIWA’s Education Center, writing to colleagues, “Let’s not panic.”369 Dongmei Huang, the Chinese director of the Education Center, added, “Since yesterday afternoon I was not able to believe that it’s the truth.”370 Riedinger, aware of “potential disruption” to CIWA’s Chinese staff, offered “my sincerest apologies that the UW has opted to pursue a different path” by choosing the Flagship Program over CIWA.371
UW then approached Pacific Lutheran University about hosting CIWA. PLU Provost Joanna Gregson responded enthusiastically, noting that the university was “seriously considering the opportunity,” She hoped UW would consider PLU “first in line,” should any other potential CIWA host emerge.372
Initially, UW hesitated to approach Pacific Lutheran as a potential new host for CIWA. Riedinger feared Hanban might not “approve a small liberal arts college as a Confucius Institute host.”373
Pacific Lutheran had made a failed attempt to host CIWA back in 2006. The Chinese Consulate in San Francisco had at that time rejected PLU as a “nonstarter”374 and insisted that UW be the host.
Since then, however, Hanban’s position had changed. In May 2019, when UW was first considering severing from CIWA, Hanban gathered some 60 CI directors in a breakout session of the National Chinese Language Conference to discuss challenges threatening Confucius Institutes. Ma Jianfei considered the changing landscape “an opportunity to restructure/remap the CIs across the world,” CIWA’s assistant director Aihua Liao recalled. Liao added that Ma pledged Hanban to “support whichever way that could help CI to relocate due to conflict with DoD funding or other federal policies.”375
Meanwhile, PLU had proven itself an eager partner of Hanban. It had partnered with CIWA and hosted a Chinese teacher, a relationship that was formalized in a 2018 Letter of Intent for Cooperation with CIWA. UW, in internal discussions about transferring CIWA, had deemed PLU (and Professor of Chinese Paul Manfredi in particular) “strong advocates of CIWA programs.”376 Riedinger, in an interview with NAS, noted that “PLU had long wanted to host a CI, and to do so with Sichuan University, so from their vantage point this was certainly the right opportunity.”377
So thoroughly had the tables turned that PLU pressed its advantage by requesting one precondition. Before it would accept CIWA, the university wanted Hanban to fund a full-time staff position to help the CI director run CIWA. UW had relied on its own budget to fund such a position. Riedinger feared this “may be a deal breaker” for Hanban and “a test of how keen they are to keep CIWA functioning.”378 But Hanban agreed, commiting to fund PLU’s request for at least three years.379
Transition to PLU
Pacific Lutheran was formally approved to host CIWA on November 12, 2020. By then, Hanban had reorganized itself and spun off the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF) to run Confucius Institutes, so PLU received its authorization from CIEF President Yang Wei.380
Until PLU’s formal approval, CIWA was once again an itinerant program. UW, having been approved for a Chinese Flagship Language Program, ended its role in CIWA by the end of January 2020. The CIWA Education Center, housed within the Seattle Public Schools (SPS), remained open. But until Pacific Lutheran officially took in CIWA, CIWA’s higher-ed component had no academic home.
For a time, Seattle Public Schools considered applying to Hanban for permission to run a K-12 Confucius Institute alone.381 In the end, International Education Washington (IEW), the same organization that had, back in 2007, lobbied Governor Gregoire to take quick action to launch a Confucius Institute, stepped up. IEW provided a temporary home for CIWA’s higher ed initiatives, including an online home on its website.382
PLU’s transition as CIWA’s host was as convoluted as was UW’s exit. IEW, on its interim CIWA website, directed visitors to write to Paul Manfredi, associate professor of Chinese and chair of the Chinese Studies Program at PLU, though PLU was not yet formally approved by CIEF. PLU, too, hosted CIWA’s 10th anniversary celebration on October 13, 2020, one month before receiving CIEF’s official authorization.383
The agreements guiding PLU were signed over a nine-month period, coinciding with Hanban’s internal reorganization. The earliest agreement, from February 2020, linked PLU with Seattle Public Schools (SPS) and Hanban, and was signed by Hanban deputy chief executive Ma Jianfei.384 The final document, PLU’s formal authorization to host a Confucius Institute, came from Hanban’s successor organization, CIEF.385
In between, PLU signed another agreement with SPS and with Alliance for Education, once again authorizing Alliance for Education to serve as “fiscal agent” receiving and disbursing Chinese funds on behalf of PLU and Seattle Public Schools.386 The arrangement, as with UW, shields PLU from filing foreign gift and contract disclosures under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.
CIWA’s 10th anniversary celebration, held online in the midst of the COVID-19 shutdowns, gathered a who’s who of CIWA’s key influencers.387 Paul Manfredi, the new director, introduced the event, which recognized all of CIWA’s past directors and several assistant directors–including Gary Hamilton, the previous CIWA director whose 2014 memo had warned of Hanban’s history of “directly violating the principles of academic freedom.”388 Manfredi also honored CIWA’s K-12 partners, Seattle Public Schools and Tacoma Public Schools, as well as CIWA’s Chinese partners, the Chongqing Municipal Education Commission and Sichuan University. Woosong University, a South Korean school whose Confucius Institute also partnered with Sichuan University, sent its greetings as well, from its president, John E. Endicott, and Dal-yeong Lee, chairman of Woosong’s parent organization, the Woosong Educational Foundation.389
Christine Gregoire, former Governor of Washington whose 2006 dinner with Hu Jintao at Bill Gates’ house had sparked the launch of the Confucius Institute, sent in a video speech, offering her “big thanks” to Pacific Lutheran University for picking up the CI.390
Zhao Lingshan, Vice President & Secretary General of Hanban’s successor organization, CIEF, spoke as well, enthusiastically praising CIs as organizations that “always adhere to the principles of mutual respect,” are known for “open and transparent operation,” and “insist on promoting people-to-people bond.” Despite CIs’ difficulties in the United States, Zhao claimed “It has been well received by most countries and people.”391
UW’s Continued Involvement in CIWA
Although the University of Washington no longer hosts the Confucius Institute, it has not ruled out forming other partnerships with Hanban and its successor organizations.
Since decoupling from CIWA in 2020, the University of Washington has explored whether it might be able to partner with CIWA in other forms. “There may come a time when UW’s Department of Asian Languages & Literature sees it as advantageous for us to partner with CIWA, not host it,” Jeffrey Riedinger, vice provost for global affairs and former director of CIWA, mused in an email to UW’s director of federal relations, Sarah Castro, in early 2021. The university would “need to explore with Congress & the Department of Defense” whether federal law barring Chinese Language Flagship Program funding would apply “only to universities hosting Confucius Institutes or extends to universities that partner with Confucius Institutes hosted by other institutions” (italics in original).392
In an interview with NAS, Riedinger commented that the University of Washington would not be opposed to working with Hanban. Under federal law regarding DoD funding, “the key issue was you could not host a CI, which presumably would mean that you could participate with Hanban in other kinds of visiting scholars programs,” Riedinger said. He added, “We do not happen to be doing that, not as some matter of policy,” but simply because no UW program has broached the issue yet.393
Riedinger has remained in close communication with Paul Manfredi, PLU’s director of CIWA, offering frequent counsel on how to best present CIWA in light of ongoing criticisms of Confucius Institutes. Manfredi reached out repeatedly, asking for a “consultation” with Riedinger to develop a list of groups or individuals who might issue public statements praising CIWA;394 for “guidance” on how to respond to an information request and Guidance Directive from the State Department;395 for comments on a draft letter Manfredi was preparing to send US Senator Patty Murray;396 for comments on another draft letter Manfredi prepared defending CIWA to Senators and Representatives;397 and for Riedinger’s opinion of a lengthy memo from a concerned citizen, John Moran, documenting human rights abuses and repression of Lutherans by the Chinese government.398
Riedinger frequently responded, suggesting edits to Manfredi’s draft letter to members of Congress;399 counseling Manfredi how to answer Moran’s missive about religious persecution in China (“I would not seek to engage him in a debate,” Riedinger advised);400 and offering to arrange a phone call after Manfredi sought his advice on the decision by the Washington State China Relations Council (WSCRC), one of CIWA’s original champions in 2006, to not issue a statement supporting CIWA out of fear of “bad publicity.”401
Riedinger also emailed news articles about Confucius Institutes to UW staff as well as to Manfredi, such as a Daily Caller article titled “Biden Administration Quietly Drops Trump Proposal To Track Chinese Influence In US Schools,” to which PLU associate provost Geoffrey Foy responded thanking Riedinger for “sharing this good news.”402
When NAS released a report on the College Board’s ties to Hanban in 2020, Riedinger sent it to Manfredi, urging Manfredi to release a statement on it: “Another report to which CIWA will need a response.”403
Of course Riedinger and a number of UW employees had also appeared at CIWA’s 10th anniversary event, hosted by Pacific Lutheran University in 2020. On this occasion Manfredi, PLU’s CI director, wrote to Riedinger, thanking him for “serving to point us in the right direction going forward.” Manfredi concluded, “We look forward to continued partnership and, with your support, great success in the future.”404
In September 2020, the Washington State China Relations Council, having seemingly warmed to Confucius Institutes once more, approached Riedinger with the idea of a webinar to “lay out the case of what CI’s do and whether they bring value to the academic community.” WSCRC intended not only to defend the value of Confucius Institutes, but to help Hanban do so as well, WSCRC President Norwell Coquillard explained. Coquillard noted that Nat Ahrens of the American Mandarin Society would join the webinar as well, discussing how he “worked on the issue with Hanban” to “help them reorganize the concept” of a Confucius Institute.405 Riedinger agreed to join the webinar as a speaker, pending confirmation of the date.406
What happened to CIWA staff?
Of the CIWA staff at UW, only Jeffrey Riedinger remained at UW. He continues in his prior role as vice provost of global affairs.
Many of the Confucius Institute staff followed CIWA to Pacific Lutheran. Jun Zhou, the former Chinese director of CIWA at UW,407 became a senior visiting scholar at Pacific Lutheran University.408 Deng Bo, another former Chinese director of CIWA and a senior visiting scholar at UW, became a senior visiting scholar at PLU.409 Dongmei Huang, another Chinese director of CIWA at UW, also became a visiting scholar at PLU.410
Aihua Liao, former assistant director of CIWA at UW, sought to remain at the University of Washington, asking Riedinger if there might be another position for her in the Office of Global Affairs.411 It is unclear what Liao did after the transition to PLU, but she is not listed as staff of either UW or PLU.
What happened to CIWA books and equipment?
UW appears to have transferred CIWA’s books and equipment to PLU. “My CIWA team spent several days packing up all of the materials that we have received over the years,” Riedinger told NAS, “and shipped them down to PLU.”412
What happened to Confucius Classrooms?
The transfer of CIWA from UW to PLU did not mark the end of K-12 Confucius Classrooms in Washington state. Many Seattle-area schools maintained their Confucius Classrooms, and a number of Tacoma Public Schools near PLU created new Confucius Classrooms.
Even as UW was in the midst of winding down its participation in CIWA, it was actively recruiting new schools to join as Confucius Classrooms. Dongmei Huang, Chinese director of the Education Center, reported securing funds for two new Confucius Classrooms in October 2019, just as UW was debating which closure date would best secure its Flagship Program application.413
When PLU in 2020 formally became the new host for CIWA, it signed agreements not only with the Chinese government and Alliance for Education (CIWA’s “fiscal agent”), but also with Seattle Public Schools, continuing the K-12 aspects of CIWA’s work.414 As recently as 2021, at least one school, Dearborn Park International School, extended its Confucius Classroom agreement, operated in conjunction with Asia Society.415
PLU’s enthusiasm for K-12 collaboration helped secure its bid to become CIWA’s new home. “One of the advantages that PLU presented was they have a long standing partnership with SPS (Seattle Public Schools),” Riedinger told NAS in an interview, emphasizing that “SPS seemed equally enthusiastic about PLU as a host.” Riedinger also appreciated that PLU had “a pretty good relationship with Tacoma Public Schools.” The arrangement “seemed to us at UW as a very good outcome, for continuing to serve the K-12 and higher ed needs of the state.”416
“Community of Common Destiny for all Mankind” at PLU
In its new home at Pacific Lutheran University, CIWA has remained active, not only in teaching Chinese, but in providing a platform for discussing other issues of interest to the Chinese government.
In 2021, PLU and CIWA hosted the 26th annual conference of the Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences in the United States (ACPSS), a Texas-based association of Chinese-born scholars teaching and researching in North America. ACPSS aims at “protecting the rights and interests of Chinese scholars of social sciences and humanities” as well as “contributing to China's modernization and positive U.S-China bilateral relations.”417
In an article on ACPSS’s 2017 conference, one ACPSS member recalled that Chinese-born scholars are “very concerned about the development of the motherland, look forward to the prosperity of the motherland, and integrate this concern and expectation into their respective academic research.”418 In a 2011 interview, Li Jieli, then-president of ACPSS, noted that “Overseas Chinese are a very important force for China to understand the world and for the world to understand China,” a force “far superior” to any “so-called public relations company” that China could hire. Should there be an “emergency” in China, Chinese-born professors in the US can “explain and clarify the historical facts” to help Americans “have a comprehensive and correct understanding of China.”419
The ACPSS conference at PLU featured presentations on topics such as “racism and xenophobia towards Chinese Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic” and “major differences between Chinese media and western media in their understandings and practices of principal guidelines of news coverage such as truthfulness, objectivity and neutrality.”420
One notable presentation focused on Xinjiang, the autonomous region of China in which the Uyghurs have been subjected to genocide and held in concentration camps. Zongli Tang, a professor of sociology at Auburn University at Montgomery, gave a presentation titled “Winning Hearts and Minds by China?– Xinjiang’s Role in BRI Construction and Its Meaning for Border Security.” The presentation focused on “China’s Stability Maintenance policy in Xinjiang,” and Xinjiang’s strategic importance as a security hub for China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Belt and Road Initiative was “not only an economic program,” Professor Tang held, “but also a sustainable strategy for China to win hearts and minds”--a strategy operated “for the grand goal of establishment of a Community of Common Destiny for all Mankind.”421
Another presentation, “Civil Rights Chinese Style,” reported that “The Chinese regime intends to give the public more breathing space in those areas that don’t hurt the state monopoly of power.”422
Troy University Professor Rui Feng presented on “The Rise and Fall of Confucius Institutes in North America.” Xiaobing Li, the Don Betz Endowed Chair in International Studies at Central Oklahoma University, used evolutionary game theory to describe the decline of Confucius Institutes, concluding that “accumulated selfishness” on the part of some Confucius Institute participants were to blame for the demise of the programs.423
The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington (CIWA) never closed. It changed hands.
The University of Washington (UW) severed ties to procure additional federal funding, recruiting as an alternative host Pacific Lutheran University (PLU). There, CIWA remains active, sponsoring Confucius Classrooms in K-12 schools, hosting Chinese government-sponsored teachers, and providing a venue for groups such as the Association of Chinese Professors of Social Sciences, whose 2021 conference at PLU included a session heralding “China’s Stability Maintenance policy in Xinjiang” (the site of concentration camps imprisoning the Uyghurs) as crucial for China’s Belt and Road Initiative.424
The University of Washington has considered whether it could maintain a relationship with the Confucius Institute and its Chinese government sponsors in a manner that would not jeopardize federal funding. Although UW initially hesitated to found a Confucius Institute, even in the face of pressure from both former Washington state Governor Christine Gregoire and the Chinese government, it has since become more enthusiastic. Its regret at parting with the Confucius Institute and interest in resuming ties indicate the university’s minimal concern over Confucius Institutes’ potential use as tools of espionage, entanglement, and soft power.
Western Kentucky University
The Confucius Institute (CI) at Western Kentucky University (WKU) opened in 2010 after the university applied to become a host for the Hanban’s language program. WKU’s CI quickly expanded its activities to include bringing Mandarin teachers from the PRC and building a presence in Kentucky’s K-12 schools. WKU was so successful in building its CI that it won awards in 2013 and 2015 from China for having the “Advanced Confucius Institute of the Year.” The university’s CI operated alongside its Federally-funded Flagship Program, which created a conflict for the school and ultimately led to the university’s decision to sever ties with the CI in 2019. Rather than closing it, WKU transferred its CI to the nearby Simpson County School District.
In this case study, we describe the origins and growth of WKU’s CI from 2010 to 2019. This case study also discusses an incident involving Martha Day, a WKU faculty member whose intellectual property was stolen in China while teaching on behalf of the CI, and the university administration’s subsequent attempt to protect the CI despite the scandal. We also document WKU’s opening of the Model Confucius Institute Building on campus and the use of Chinese government funding in its construction. We review China’s use of financial and legal leverage to pressure the university after official closure of the CI.
We also investigate the involvement of private consulting firms under Terrill Martin, WKU’s former CI director, in facilitating the CI’s evolution from inception to closure and ultimate transfer to the Kentucky school system. In this section we highlight the suspicious connections and overlap between the CI and WKU’s Institute for Combustion Science and Technology (ICSET) within the context of potential loss of intellectual property and the risk of Chinese industrial espionage. We also note the continuity between WKU’s CI and the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky (CIWK) despite the official closure.
This case study utilizes a corpus of documents that include contracts, correspondence between China and WKU administrators, interviews with Martha Day and Terrill Martin, local media reports, and other documents obtained through the Kentucky Open Records Act. Despite receiving millions of dollars from Hanban, federal records show Western Kentucky University has never once disclosed foreign funding in its Section 117 filings to the Department of Education.425
History and Growth
Western Kentucky University’s Confucius Institute opened in 2010. In December 2009, Hanban officials Liu Jiangyi and Liu Xiao flew to Bowling Green for an “inspection tour” of the school following WKU’s application for a CI.426 One month later, in January 2010, then WKU president Gary Ransdell reciprocated by traveling to China to finalize an agreement for establishing a Confucius Institute on campus. The agreement was signed by Hanban’s director general Xu Lin and by Ransdell.427 In separate agreements, WKU partnered with both Sichuan International Studies University and North China Electric Power University (NCEPU) to found and develop the CI, with WKU ceding considerable power to both Chinese universities over curriculum and funding. In Article 16 of the agreement with Sichuan University, WKU agreed that “the management of funds for the operation of the Confucius Institute shall follow regulations of the Confucius Institute Headquarters.”428 The agreement between NCEPU and WKU stipulates that oversight would be equally shared by means of a “Board of Advisors”; however, Article 11 notes that WKU’s Chinese partner would oversee “textbooks, pedagogy and academic research.”429 This indicates that Chinese sponsors had control of the curriculum despite the program’s presence in the US.
In a statement regarding how WKU obtained a CI for its campus, the Institute’s co-director Amy Eckhardt declared the CI would include Chinese language programs not only for the university, but also for K-12 schools in Warren County, Kentucky.430 Eckhardt stated that WKU’s proposal for housing a CI involved “coordinated efforts” on the part of the university, including Ransdell and WKU Provost Barbara Burch, as well as officials at the city and county levels.431 The establishment of the program itself included $150,000 in initial funding, numerous Chinese language study materials, and collaboration with Sichuan International Studies University as a Chinese partner institution, and also with the University of Maryland, the first American university to host a Confucius Institute.432
Within a year, WKU’s Confucius Institute boasted a sizable staff and a robust schedule of programming. In 2011, the Institute housed 23 “Volunteer Teachers” from China, and was teaching over 4,800 students throughout schools in six different counties in Kentucky.433 Programs in 2011 included galas and social events, including one held by WKU President Ransdell at his private home for the Lunar New Year. The CI also hosted performances by the Xiamen University Student Troupe and the May 20 grand opening of the Chinese Learning Center.434
In the spring and summer of 2011, WKU’s Confucius Institute sent 44 faculty to Beijing for “Chinese language and culture classes,” along with students from WKU’s Gatton Academy (a special program run by WKU for high school students in the STEM field) who were sent to the Chinese Summer Bridge Program in Tianjin.435 The Gatton Academy had developed a STEM+Mandarin program that partnered with both the CI and with WKU’s Chinese Language Flagship Program.436
WKU began partnering with a second Chinese university, North China Electric Power University, as the new Chinese partner for the Confucius Institute, beginning in 2011.437 That July, WKU President Ransdell traveled to Beijing to present an honorary doctorate to Xu Lin for “public service.”438
In 2011, the CI’s director, Wei-Ping Pan, outlined goals for the next few years. These included increasing the number of local high school students in Chinese language classes by 10% annually, increasing the flow of exhibits and performances moving through the Chinese Learning Center, and increasing collaboration between WKU’s business school and hard sciences with their counterparts in China.439 The Chinese Learning Center began as a special section of WKU’s Helm Library devoted entirely to Chinese cultural activities and demonstrations.440 The Chinese Learning Center would later evolve into a separate building in 2017.441
Starting in 2013, Hanban began funding two teaching chair positions. One, in the Department of Modern Languages, assisted in the Chinese major at WKU. Another, in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, supported a teacher certification program WKU had started the year before.442 WKU worked to help CI teachers gain Kentucky teaching certificates, which would give CI personnel greater access to Kentucky classrooms.443
WKU’s CI expansion efforts proved fruitful, as WKU received accolades from Hanban. In September 2013, Hanban selected Bowling Green to host the first Joint Meeting of U.S. Confucius Institutes, at which Hanban director general Xu Lin announced the goal that CIs worldwide reach 1.5 million students by 2015.444 In December 2013, WKU’s Institute was acknowledged as an “Advanced Confucius Institute of the Year” by North China Electric Power University and was awarded a medal by China’s Vice Premier, Liu Yandong.445 Much of CIWKU’s growing influence moved beyond the confines of the university itself, and included multiple Chinese language and culture programs targeting audiences off campus.
Examples of these efforts included the “Chinese Cultural Experience” and a “mobile unit” designed to introduce the CI to school districts and classrooms across Kentucky.446 The “mobile unit” consisted of a modular recreational vehicle devoted to bringing Chinese performances and workshops throughout Kentucky. In the 2012-2013 academic year, 17 of the 33 Hanban teachers at WKU’s CI obtained teacher certifications from the Kentucky Educational Professional Standards Boards in order to teach Chinese at the K-12 level in the state. The following year, 10 more teachers attained the same certification.447
In the Fall semester of 2014, WKU hosted “Confucius Day” to celebrate the CI’s work on campus. Local politicians, too, declared the day “Confucius Day,” including Kentucky state representative Jim DeCesare, Bowling Green mayor Bruce Wilkerson, and Warren County Judge Mike Buchanon.448 The celebration included a “Love for China” dance performance at the request of North China Electric Power University, which was endorsed by WKU to the Hanban.449 “Love for China” performed at universities across the US as part a CI promotional tour that culminated at WKU.450
In 2015, WKU’s CI received another award for its growth and use of its “mobile unit” to promote China in Kentucky communities beyond Bowling Green. Vice Premier Liu Yandong again presented WKU with the Confucius Institute of the Year award, upon the reception of which WKU’s research coordinator, Martin Cohron, expressed his intention to continue using the Cultural Experience Mobile Unit to take Chinese culture to “schools across the state.”451 As of 2015, the CI at WKU had established 15 Confucius Classrooms, while facilitating the continued growth certifying Chinese K-12 teachers.452
In 2017, Ransdell noted that the Hanban provided “between $3 million and $5 million” annually for the CI, with an additional $3 million for Chinese teachers, though WKU never disclosed this funding as legally required under Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.453
WKU’s CI invested heavily in teacher certifications, effectively seeding the state’s school system with teachers approved by the Chinese government. “The Kentucky Certified teachers program continues to be the heart and soul of the CI at WKU,” CIWKU’s 2015 annual report claimed.454 Reminiscing at the time of closure, the university stated that its CI provided Mandarin teachers “recruited from China” to roughly 50 schools in Kentucky.455
Intellectual Property Theft and the Martha Day Incident
One incident of particular note in the CI’s history involved a faculty member from WKU whose flash drive was seized by Chinese officials while on a trip pertaining to official CI business. From August 3-7, 2015, Martha Day, then an Associate Professor of Science Education at WKU, was in China on business for the university when a flash drive was taken and returned with “malware deliberately introduced.”456 Day had been helping train teachers in China who were preparing to come to Kentucky as language instructors at the CI and in the state school system.457
During the August 2015 trip, Day’s third trip to China, she and her colleague Lynn Hines discovered that they would be instructing “college professors and educational administrators” rather than teachers slated to work in Kentucky.458 Rather than the Hanban, as they had been told, the training involved a company called Chinese Testing International (CTI).459 On August 6, 2015, Day stated in an email that “Hanban personnel” had commandeered a flash drive from her classroom against her will, and returned it to her with malware and corrupted files.460 Concerned about the integrity of her intellectual property on the flash drive, Day raised the issue with WKU. In turn, Paul Mooney, WKU’s compliance officer, turned the corrupted drive over to the FBI.
On September 11, 2015, FBI agents, along with Paul Mooney, WKU’s senate chair Kate Hudespohl, WKU’s general counsel Deborah Wilkins, and Day’s attorney Dan Rudloff, met to discuss the incident. Upon examining the corrupted drive, the FBI operating out of Louisville discovered the presence of malware in the form of “Backdoor:Win32/Bifroze.IZ.” The timestamp for accessing the program aligned with Day’s account of it being tampered with on August 5, 2015.461 Brent Haselhoff, WKU’s cybersecurity manager, noted that the flash drive threatened the integrity of the whole university.462 Day noted that had she used the contaminated drive at WKU, it could have “installed spyware across the university.”463
Day and Hines brought the incident to the university’s senate, proposing that the CI undergo an “external audit”464 Day was particularly concerned that a similar incident had happened several years prior465 and that she had had “four years’ worth of research stolen” from her flash drive.466 Two months after the Day incident in November 2015, WKU President Ransdell gave an exclusive interview to the Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily in which he offered an impassioned defense of CIs, declaring he wanted “students to grow with confidence as citizens of the world.”467
Administratively, WKU’s handling of the matter was unusual due to the semi-independent status the CI enjoyed. Normally, grievances at WKU “flow through the academic hierarchy of department head, dean, and provost”; however, Ransdell as university president was involved in the process given his oversight of the school’s CI program.468 The “special relationship” between Ransdell and the CI is noteworthy, particularly in Ransdell’s dismissal of the importance of the incident.469 Ransdell claimed that the same incident could have happened in any number of countries, but that he did not “see it having any bearing on our WKU Confucius Institute.”470 Ransdell retired from his position as WKU President in June 2017.471
Movement Towards Closure and Chinese Government Influence
While WKU officially announced closure of its CI in 2019, the presence of the CI devolved to nearby school districts in Kentucky. By WKU’s own account, the Confucius Institute did not truly close, but merely changed hands.
The severing of ties between WKU and the CI came about as the result of 2018 legislation that forbade colleges and universities from hosting CIs if they also received funding for the Chinese Language Flagship Program from the US Department of Defense (DoD).472 The “Flagship Program” allows students at recipient schools to acquire Chinese while working on their regular degrees. Due to statute, WKU could not receive program funding from the Federal Government as well as from the People’s Republic at the same time.
Initially, WKU petitioned the Federal Government for permission to maintain its Confucius Institute while operating the Flagship Program. The Bowling Green Daily News reported WKU was “confident” the government would waive the requirements for the university. “No changes are necessary to comply with the new law,” WKU spokesman Bob Skipper said. “We are confident that WKU will meet the stated provisions for a waiver.”473
When in fact the DoD declined to issue a waiver to WKU, the university chose to maintain the Flagship Program rather than the Confucius Institute.474 Nevertheless, WKU expressed a desire to maintain Chinese partnerships. At the time of closure, WKU President Timothy C. Caboni stated, “we hope to strengthen, deepen, and broaden our relationships with partner institutions in China throughout this process.”475 In letters to Hanban in April and June 2019, Caboni noted the university’s inability to continue hosting the CI due to its conflict with the NDAA and the federally-funded Flagship Program.476 Caboni also noted that the agreement between WKU and Hanban over the CI building never stipulated a “penalty” for closing the program.477 On June 14, 2019, Caboni wrote again to the Hanban that the Simpson County Schools had agreed to host the CI and keep it alive at the K-12 level.478
In October 2019, a 17-member WKU delegation (including Terrill Martin and Weiping Pan) visited NCEPU, WKU’s original CI partner university, confirming plans to transfer the CI.479
The Model Confucius Institute Building
One difficulty in WKU’s decision to sever ties with the Confucius Institute involved the Model Confucius Institute Building (MCIB). This building, paid for by a combination of Hanban and WKU funds, housed the Confucius Institute and involved a 50-year lease of WKU property by the CI. A CI with its own building constructed at its host university using funds from the Chinese government is highly unusual, and demonstrates the entanglement universities face when entering into a legal and financial agreement with a foreign nation. When WKU severed ties with its Confucius Institute, it automatically canceled a 2014 agreement regarding the building, sparking a back-and-forth legal dispute as to whether and how much money WKU owed China.
In January 2015, WKU president Ransdell brought forth a proposal to the university’s regents for the “Confucius Institute Design/Build Project.”480 Ransdell proposed a building that would be on Normal Avenue, and consist of a 7,100 square foot floor plan. Hanban would provide $1.5 million for construction, which the university would be required to match.481 Ransdell proposed using $700,000 from donations and another $800,000 from “reserve funding” from the campus coal lab.482 The completed building would serve the CI with offices, a copy center, flex spaces, and a kitchen.483 The contract itself stipulates that the expenses of the building after its completion would be the responsibility of the university, and that the “University shall be owner of the Dedicated Site” and “shall have the exclusive right of its use on a permanent basis.”484
The building was approved despite concerns raised by regent Barbara Burch over whether such a location was in the university’s interest, and concerns by regent John Ridley over whether the agreement between WKU and a foreign government would open the university to liability in the event of geopolitical tensions.485
The contract placed significant control in the hands of the Hanban, despite the assertion early in the document that the property belongs to WKU. Article 35 stipulates that specifics of the agreement be kept from “third parties,” but after the deal was approved, leaked details raised significant concern on the campus. The contract asserted that the building site “shall be subject to the free and exclusive use of the Model Confucius Institute for 50 years,” during which time the university was barred from using the site for other purposes.486 The terms also stated that should WKU unilaterally back out of the agreement, the university would assume liability and debt owed to the Hanban based upon the amount of time left in the 50-year period.487
Jay Todd Richey, student regent at the time the contractual details became public, raised concerns over Beijing having a “government foothold on a college campus.”488 Activist groups and the student government expressed dismay that the vote on the agreement took place without the 50-year timeframe being public knowledge.489 In August 2015, the university’s Senate Executive Committee formally stated that the contract was “not in the best interest of Western Kentucky University” and recommended that the contract be reconsidered.490 The following month, WKU’s Student Government Association also requested that the contract be reconsidered.491
Despite the numerous concerns, the building proceeded as planned. In an October 2015 letter to University Senate Chair Kate Hudespohl, President Ransdell noted that he had spoken with Hanban Director Xu Lin, and assured Hudespohl that Beijing would cover “all maintenance costs and operating costs, including utilities” once the facility became operational—despite contractual terms stating the opposite.492
Terminating ties with its CI complicated WKU’s approach to the building. The university and Hanban dithered about refunding Hanban part of its investment into the Model Confucius Institute Building. On May 31, 2019, WKU’s general counsel notified the Hanban that WKU would withdraw from the building agreement, not as “unilateral” termination, but rather as the result of the Federal government’s refusal to grant WKU a waiver from DoD regulations.493 WKU asserted that the closure of the CI constituted force majeure, an event beyond its control, which thereby allowed it to withdraw without repaying the Hanban a penalty for early loss of the building. As a “friendly negotiation,” the university offered a payment of $678,000 to the Hanban.494
Hanban rejected WKU’s “friendly” payment and calculated that WKU owed a much larger sum, $1,883,300. In a letter to WKU president Caboni, Ma Jianfei, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, asserted that the university terminated the building agreement “for reasons that amount to convenience, and not by reason of impossibility.” Ma asserted that DoD regulations did not prevent WKU from maintaining the Confucius Institute, but rather “made the University face an economic choice” as to which program, the Confucius Institute or the Flagship Program, WKU would choose to continue.495
According to Terrill Martin, former director of the Confucius Institute, the building “is sitting there and it’s not being used” due to WKU’s inability to reach an agreement with Hanban regarding the refund amount.496 Martin speculated WKU may have intentionally neglected the building so as to not “strengthen China’s case” for the university to pay the Hanban for the site.497 Martin, who is now managing the Confucius Institute on behalf of its new host, the Simpson County Public Schools, expressed interest in “petitioning” for the building once the university fulfilled its obligation to pay for the building.498 Should Martin obtain the building, the CI would physically return to WKU.
In 2022, WKU’s problems with the building and the aftermath of closing its CI resurfaced when the university was served with a lawsuit from the Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) for alleged damages. CLEC sued for $3,224,720 plus an additional $1,864 per day that the payment is delayed.499 Through CLEC, the Chinese government intends to recuperate losses from investing in the WKU’s CI building, while WKU asserts that “changes in federal law renders the agreements void.”500 The legal battle continues today.
Continuity Instead of Closure: Moving the Confucius Institute to the Simpson County School District
WKU formally ended its Confucius Institute in April 2019. But rather than close, the Confucius Institute migrated to Kentucky’s K-12 system. In May, university spokesman Bob Skipper told Bowling Green News that “We’re still looking for some way to keep this program alive.”501 Two months later, in July 2019, Simpson County Schools formalized an agreement with the Hanban to “take over the CI at WKU program.”502 In its new home in the Simpson County Schools, the CI would be known as the “Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky.”503 Despite losing its foothold in the university, the CI operating out of the Simpson County School District announced its plan to reach over 22,000 Kentucky students across 18 counties.504
In a series of letters between WKU and the Hanban, university president Timothy Caboni stressed his desire to maintain a relationship with Hanban and preserve the Confucius Institute. Caboni assured Hanban in an April 2019 letter that WKU would seek to continue a “pipeline” of “students and instructors from China” despite the official end of ties between the university and the Hanban.505 In May, after WKU was denied a waiver to host its Flagship Program alongside the CI, WKU’s general counsel wrote again to Hanban, reiterating “our intent to continue our relationship and maintain a lasting connection” with Hanban.506 In a letter to Ma dated June 14, 2019, Caboni stated his intent to keep the CI alive rather than cease the university’s involvement with the Chinese government:
When the decision was made to end the partnership with the Confucius Institute, it was always our plan to find alternative solutions to keep the K-12 program alive in the state of Kentucky. The institute has built strong relationships with the various school districts in the state and losing this program would impact over 23,000 K-12 students. Strategic meetings have taken place with outside organizations to discuss the opportunity to transfer the program from WKU to another entity.
We are pleased to inform you that the Simpson County Board of Education has agreed to be the new host site for the program. Simpson County is located approximately 15 miles from Bowling Green and they have been a partnering school with the Institute for many years. Many of their graduates come to WKU, so there’s a strong relationship between the two organizations. This school district is an appropriate partner and capable of taking ownership and continuing the program. The contracts have been reviewed and translated by the school district’s counsel. The translated versions should be in your possession for review. In conclusion, we believe the program is very important to K-12 students across the state. Thus, WKU, fully supports the Simpson County Board of Education as a strong option to not only maintain the program, but to grow the program in the future.507
Caboni’s correspondence with the Hanban indicates the CI’s institutional continuation after its supposed closure, and also highlights the durability that the Institute achieved under WKU’s sponsorship. WKU did not unilaterally end its agreement with Beijing due to any epiphany regarding the CI program’s dual purpose as a tool of soft power and influence; rather, the university ended its formal affiliation with the CI due to federal funding constraints. The CI did not close so much as shift its focus to K-12 classrooms under the auspices of a program with virtually the same moniker.
Terrill Martin, who had directed the CI at WKU and became the new CI director for Simpson County Schools, stated that the only difference between WKU’s CI and that now hosted by Simpson County is the dropping of “university” from the name of the program.508 Simpson County Schools superintendent Tim Schlosser declared that “Simpson County Schools is excited to be able to continue to offer Chinese to our students.”509 Schlosser also spoke of deep ties that existed between the K-12 schools in the county and the CI while it was still at WKU: “SCS have partnered with the Confucius Institute for the past nine years to bring Chinese language and culture to our district.”510
The efforts of WKU’s CI to seed the Kentucky school system proved remarkably successful. The “pipeline” of Hanban-approved teachers from the PRC to Kentucky via WKU’s CI enabled the Confucius Institute to survive WKU’s withdrawal.
To assist in the CI’s survival in Kentucky, WKU arranged to transfer assets it had administered for the CI’s operation from the university to Simpson County schools. In June 2019, WKU entered a memorandum of understanding with the Simpson County Board of Education (SCBOE) handing over cash in the amount of $192,714.25, and hard assets in the form of furniture, vehicles, Chinese furniture and artifacts, office materials, books, and computers.511
WKU’s Chinese partner institute, North China Electric Power University, also transferred to the Simpson County Schools. The SCBOE formalized an agreement with the North China Electric Power University (NCEPU) for the creation of the “new” Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky (CIWK) in Fall 2019.512 Under the agreement, SBCOE is mandated to manage funds for the program, and work with “third party contractors” to secure a physical location for the CI, and “assist the Chinese instructors with visa applications and residence procedures”.513 For its part, NCEPU would bear responsibility for crafting Chinese language and culture programs at the CI.514
While the SBCOE would have “financial oversight” of the CI, the administration of the programming involved the inclusion of a nonprofit called BG Education Management Solutions Inc. This nonprofit is run by Terrill Martin.515 Under this new agreement, the Simpson County schools would increase its number of Chinese teachers, adding 24 new instructors and 19 “returning” faculty to its existing staff of 4 Chinese teachers.516 With this new iteration of the same CI, the program would serve 47 schools with additional “opportunities to branch out across the state or even outside it.”517
The Chinese understanding is that WKU’s CI did not so much close as get new life under another name. According to North China Electric Power University, a delegation from Western Kentucky visited China in October 2019 to celebrate the “successful” and “shortest transition” of a CI from one institution to another.518 Terrill Martin, one of the visitors in the delegation, made no distinction whatsoever between WKU’s CI and CIWK when he noted that the institute would maintain its programming.519 Of course Martin had directed the CI both at WKU and at Simpson County Public Schools. Not only did the institution of the CI survive, but it did so under the guidance of the same management team.
Western Kentucky’s CI Facilitator: Terrill Martin
Much of the CI’s presence in Kentucky, from its establishment and growth at WKU and its later move to Kentucky’s K-12 schools in 2019, was facilitated by Terrill Martin. Martin served as the founding Operations Manager of WKU’s CI, then as Associate Director from June 2012 to June 2014, and finally as Interim Director at WKU’s CI from January 2014 through the university’s CI termination in June 2019. Since July 2019, Martin has served as Director of the CIWK for Simpson County Schools.520
Martin is also the CEO of both a nonprofit, BG Education Management Solutions, and a for-profit consulting group, Martin Global Enterprises. Both focus exclusively on facilitating partnerships with China, and Martin runs both alongside his wife, Kay Martin, and another former CI colleague, Wei-Ping Pan.521 Martin Global Enterprises states that it does “not sell products or services” but offers “educational experiences with a collaborative and global perspective.”522 BG Education Management Solutions holds the contract to “provide management for the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky” and to “recruit Chinese teachers from China, and partner with K-12 schools and organizations in the state of Kentucky.”523 According to the Kentucky Secretary of State, Terrill’s nonprofit, BG Education Management Solutions holds a “Doing Business As” (DBA) designation for CIWK.524
In an interview, Martin stated that BG Education Management Solutions operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and that he facilitated the transfer of the CI to Simpson County Schools so that China could “save face” while he ran the program.525 Wei-Ping Pan, the architect of the K-12 Chinese language curriculum for the CI program and overseer of the institute’s growth, is the Senior Consultant of China Relations for both Martin Global Enterprises and BG Management Solutions, as well as Chairman of the Board for BG Management Solutions.526
Martin’s work is exclusively focused on facilitating ties to the PRC. Neither of his companies advertise any other programs, initiatives, or countries than the CI and the People’s Republic of China. When asked about the Martha Day affair and the risk of intellectual property theft, Martin minimized the incident, stating that “nobody was stealing her stuff” and that Day’s “ultimate intention” was to have both him and Pan fired.527
Martin also asserted that Taiwan does not “teach Mandarin” so much as “traditional” Chinese.528 Martin asserted in an interview that no Chinese propaganda was disseminated by, and that no pressure regarding freedom of speech emanated from, WKU’s CI. In November 2021 when the Kentucky Department of Education announced it would work with Taipei to expand Chinese language instruction in the state, Martin stated he had “no comment at this time.”529
The jeopardy that WKU’s CI posed to academic freedom was a key concern raised by members of the university community, despite Martin’s assertion to the contrary. In 2016 Jeffrey Samuels, a professor of Asian religions at WKU, noted that an inherent tension existed between the CI and the university. Samuel raised the problem that certain topics, such as Tibet and the Tiananmen Square massacre were taboo topics around Chinese teachers.530 In one instance, the CI opposed Samuel’s efforts to showcase a Tibetan dance display.531 During the Covid-19 pandemic, Martin worked to facilitate sending medical assistance to Wuhan Province, where the virus originated.532
Targeting Clean Coal Technology?
The close professional ties between Terrill Martin and Wei-Ping Pan predate their collaboration in Martin’s two consulting firms, and are noteworthy because of Pan’s background as a researcher specializing in “clean coal technology.”533 Pan served as founding director of the WKU Confucius Institute, but his background at WKU is not focused on cultural connections and language training.
Pan joined WKU in 1986, becoming the Sumter Professor of Chemistry in 1993. He helped WKU set up three research labs, as well as the Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology (ICSET).534 During his career at WKU, his research attracted $17 million in external funding, including federal funding from the NSF, the DoD, the Department of Energy, NASA, and the EPA.535 Pan is a Fellow of the North American Thermal Analysis Society, and previously served as president of the Overseas Chinese Environmental Engineers and Scientists Association.536
In 2018, when NCEPU’s Communist Party Secretary, Zhou Jian, visited WKU, Zhou visited Pan’s laboratory and identified him as a member of China’s Thousand Talents Program.537 Pan has worked for many years in facilitating the transfer of advancements in coal technology from the US to China.538
Coal technology has been a major target for the Chinese government. In a 2009 report to Congress on the loss of economic technologies by means of theft or uncontrolled transfer, the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive noted that many technological developments, particularly those related to coal, are “vulnerable to loss or compromise.”539 The report notes that “clean coal” technologies and US coal supplies “constitute Critical National Assets” that are of interest to foreign powers such as China.540
The Office of National Counterintelligence raised these concerns just as WKU was establishing its Confucius Institute. WKU installed Wei-Ping Pan, its leading coal researcher, as director of the Confucius Institute. Terrill Martin, who had worked with Pan at ICSET, joined Pan at the Confucius Institute, working concurrently for both ICSET and the Confucius Institute.541
Jay Todd Richey, the same student regent who expressed concern over the 50-year lease of the CI building on campus, also noted that both Pan and Martin worked at WKU’s Institute for Combustion Science and Environmental Technology and that the “union” between the CI and the ICSET created an “inherent conflict of interest.”542 President Ransdell magnified these conflicts of interest when, in proposing the Model CI building, he proposed taking $800,000 in “reserve funding” from ICSET for the Confucius Institute’s construction project.543 The CI also reported $1.1 million in funding from ICSET and from several industrial corporations, including Dow Chemical Company and a Chinese enterprise, the Black Dragon Double Boiler.544 Richey notes that the physical location of the CI building at WKU is in close proximity to both ICSET and WKU’s coal lab.545
The overlap in personnel between ICSET and the CI at WKU, and the proximity of the two institutions both administratively and physically, raises multiple questions of concern, given the Chinese government’s proclivity to use American universities as a source for garnering technological research. Martin himself sought to downplay these risks, when in reaction to the Martha Day incident, he asserted that “nobody was stealing her stuff” and that “nobody wants her PowerPoint.”546 In fact, through multiple government agencies, including the Ministry of Education under which the Hanban operates, Beijing collects massive amounts of economic and technological information in order to assist China’s advancement.
Conclusion: The Confucius Institute Is Alive and Well
By all accounts, WKU’s CI did not close so much as evolve as an institution. While WKU no longer contravenes Federal law by offering parallel Chinese language programming via the CI and the Flagship Program, the CI persists by building upon its efforts to funnel programming into Kentucky schools by means of instructors and programs approved by the Chinese government. Simpson County Schools became the new host of the CI after WKU severed formal ties with the institution. Despite facing increased scrutiny from the public and policymakers, as well as new competition from similar programs offered by Taiwan and the Department of Defense, the CI continues for the time being to fulfill its purpose as a means of exercising soft power in Kentucky.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University opened a Confucius Institute in partnership with Sichuan University in 2007, having previously become sister universities with Sichuan University to boost its bid for a CI. The CI worked closely with K-12 schools, helping to develop an AP Chinese curriculum and collaborating with ASU’s federally funded Startalk Program for K-12 students. ASU’s CI also worked with ASU’s federally funded Chinese Language Flagship Program.
In 2018, when CIs attracted national scrutiny, ASU’s vice president for government affairs Matt Salmon (himself a former member of Congress) canvassed the nation speaking on behalf of Confucius Institutes. Salmon also flew to China to present strategies for “shaping and displaying the public image of the Confucius Institutes” At a National Press Club event hosted by the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, Salmon called Confucius Institutes “a real, real blessing” and claimed the Department of Defense had co-funded the CI.547
Prompted by Salmon’s claims, Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act to bar universities from hosting both a Confucius Institute and a Department of Defense-funded Chinese Flagship Program. In 2019, ASU closed its Confucius Institute.
ASU remains sister universities with Sichuan University, which appears to be actively involved in Beijing’s military-industrial complex.
On April 21, 2006, Arizona State University (ASU) became sister universities with Sichuan University (SCU). ASU President Michael M. Crow signed an agreement with SCU President Xie Heping in Tempe, Arizona, pledging to “build a comprehensive partnership that engages units across each university” and to “build long-term co-branded programs and partnerships.” The agreement outlined three initial collaborations between ASU and SCU and committed both institutions to identifying opportunities for student, faculty, and staff exchange.548
The sister university agreement was a prelude to the establishment of a Confucius Institute. ASU had been told Hanban favored CI applications from universities that were already sister institutions, 549 and Sichuan University encouraged ASU to apply.550 Six months after signing the first agreement with SCU, on October 18, 2006, ASU President Michael Crow submitted a CIASU feasibility study to Wang Luxin in Hanban’s Department of Confucian Affairs. Crow wrote:
Both ASU and SCU have agreed to contribute significant resources to match the proposed investment from Hanban. We see the establishment of the Institute as a significant component of the ongoing ASU-SCU Sister Institution partnership that will help us to solidify an important bridge between the People’s Republic of China and the United States.551
To boost ASU’s application, Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano wrote to Hanban on January 25, 2007, noting that ASU “is well positioned to serve as a hub for cultural exchange with China.” Napolitano stressed that “Arizona already has many economic and cultural ties with China and hope [sic] to expand and intensify activities and partnerships with Chinese institutions in education, business and government.”552
The efforts succeeded. On May 23, 2007, representatives from ASU, Sichuan University, and Hanban gathered for a signing ceremony in Beijing.553 ASU’s press release described the agreement as one of a “series of initiatives ASU was creating with Sichuan University to implement a new higher education model” focused on global engagement.554 The CI became a linchpin bringing together a variety of ASU faculty and departments: “Dozens of ASU faculty are directly involved with these efforts, many through the Confucius Institute.”555
On October 22, 2007, the Confucius Institute officially opened.556 Stephen West, foundation professor of Chinese who spearheaded ASU’s application, shared his vision in an October 11, 2007 ASU News article:
The Confucius Institute can help create a more culturally aware and sophisticated Valley citizenry — one that can understand and influence business, professional, and government policy to create a better local world in an increasingly globalized and multilingual environment. It can prepare a wide variety of people to carry out their professional work in Chinese language which, through the Internet and other media, is becoming a worldwide language.557
CIASU Activities and Programming
To celebrate the CI’s opening in October 2007, Arizona State University Libraries installed a semester-long Confucius Institute Exhibit hosted in two library buildings, Noble and Hayden. To mark the event, the ASU Library hosted “dignitaries from Sichuan University and the Chinese consulate in Los Angeles, as well as scholars, students and community members.”558 Guests gathered to see “photos, art and artifacts about Confucius and his influence on Chinese history and culture, China’s Sichuan province, and Sichuan University and its libraries.”559 The exhibit was meant to last only one semester, but “due to continuous interest in the materials and the volume of guests to the event, Library administrators approved a scaled-down version of the original exhibit for a second library in the ASU system.”560
The exhibit sparked further collaboration. In December 2007, ASU and Sichuan University’s libraries finalized an agreement for “resource sharing and librarian exchanges” and “future collaborative activities and projects.”561
At ASU, the CI was closely involved not only with the library, but also with a number of other units, including President Crow’s China Initiatives Office; the School of International Letters and Cultures, and the Center for Asian Research, both in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; and in the Mary Lou Fulton College of Education.562 It also partnered directly with the Contemporary Chinese School of Arizona, a “nonreligious, nonpolitical, nonprofit school.”563
In addition, there were plans for CI’s collaboration with Arizona’s business community: “The Confucius Institute will actively seek partnerships with local business professionals and corporations to offer Chinese language education.” Brad Casper, then president and CEO of Dial Corporation, noted at the time, “The Confucius Institute will be a real asset for Arizona's business community. We must not underestimate the importance of cultural competency and language skills in engaging with the global economy – particularly China. The training programs the Institute will provide can give local businesses a significant leg-up.”564
In 2008 and subsequent years, CIASU cosponsored a “Moon Festival and National Day Celebration” alongside the Arizona Chinese United Association and other Chinese community organizations. At the 2008 event, then-Deputy Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in LA thanked CIASU for co-hosting the event. In 2011, Chinese Consul Zhumin Chen spoke, alongside Wen Chen, general manager of Intel China; Rudy Vetter, senior VP of Greater Phoenix Economic Council; and Jerry Liu, general manager of Suntech Arizona.565
In 2010, CIASU organized five “book exhibits” displaying Hanban’s donations to ASU faculty and students, as well as “many educators and members of the general public in the Arizona community.” After the exhibit closed, the CI donated 1,000 Hanban books to local schools teaching Chinese.566
CIASU held hundreds of events annually, including a series of events in 2014 celebrating the 10th anniversary of Confucius Institutes worldwide. Students held placards with the Chinese words “Happy 10th Birthday to Hanban!”567
ASU helped other American universities apply for a Confucius Institute as well. CI Director Madeline Spring worked with the University of Washington, her alma mater and another of this report’s case studies, to help UW prepare for hosting a Confucius Institute. Spring sent copies of ASU’s feasibility study, application to Hanban, final signed MOUs, and other documents, and spent time on campus talking with UW faculty.568
CIASU promoted its programs to the Arizona Department of Education.569 In August 2008, at the invitation of the State of Arizona’s Department of Education, Spring helped form the “International Education Committee” to promote the study of foreign languages statewide, and also served as Chair of the International Education Committee of Chinese. In 2009, after a 7.9 earthquake struck Sichuan, CI Director Madeline Spring initiated an Adopt-a-School program linking Arizona and Sichuan schools. Arizona Education Superintendent Tom Horne endorsed the program, writing to individual schools to encourage them to participate.570
CIASU became closely involved in ASU’s Startalk program, a federal language program funded by the National Security Agency. In 2008, ASU appointed Spring to partner with Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University in offering a Startalk-funded program to train 18 teachers of Chinese.571 In 2009 and again in 2010, CIASU partnered with ASU’s School of International Letters and Culture and Startalk Central to offer the ASU Startalk Chinese Language Camp for high school students.572
Periodically CIASU also worked with ASU’s federally funded Chinese Flagship program. The two, for instance, co-hosted a teacher training program for high school Chinese teachers.573 In 2012, in an ASU graduate student dissertation referring to ASU by the pseudonym “MMU,” ASU’s CI director described how the CI, the Chinese major, and the federally funded Flagship Program “do feed on each other,” seeking to be “mutually supportive.”574
Check-Ups from the Chinese Consulate
CIASU was in frequent communication with the Chinese consulate, which reached out to check on CIASU’s activities. On February 18, 2011, representatives of the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles, including Education Consul Cuiying Xu, met with CIASU. In June 2014, Liu Jian, then Consul General of the Chinese Consulate in LA, met with ASU officials, including CIASU staff.575 In October 2015, Liu met with a delegation led by Joe Cutter, who was then both Director of the School of International Letters and Cultures and CIASU.576
In May 2016, Haiying Chai, then Education Consul, asked for updates on the CI’s work. Fannie Tam, the CI’s Managing Director, responded in Chinese with a detailed list of CIASU’s activities. Tam noted that CIASU sponsored 14 Confucius Classrooms and worked “closely” with another 10 schools’ “Chinese language teaching sites.” CIASU and its Confucius Classrooms had hosted over 150 cultural events and provided 165 Chinese courses for more than 5,300 students, in 2016 alone.
Tam highlighted a handful of particularly “eye-catching innovative projects,” crediting CIASU with helping ASU secure a $350,000 grant to pilot a program supporting AP Chinese Language courses. CIASU “took the lead in developing the curriculum design” for these AP courses, and also developed a “cultural program for Advanced Placement courses.” (The Chinese government had previously paid the College Board to develop the AP Chinese test.577) CIASU also helped ASU win a $90,000 StarTalk grant, Tam noted.
In 2016, CIASU and the Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles co-hosted “China-Arizona Cultural Day,” a high-profile event featuring “local political, business and academic leaders,” including State Senator Kimberly Yee, Gilbert Mayor John Lewis, and Tempe City Councilman Kolby Granville.578 Then Consul General Liu Jian delivered opening remarks.579 Some 200 guests representing the government, local businesses, and schools attended.
In recognition of ASU’s dedication to the CI, CIASU was named an “Advanced Confucius Institute” in 2016.580 Sichuan University was awarded the title of “Advanced Chinese Partner of Confucius Institutes” in 2018.581
Sichuan’s Center for American Culture
In 2010, ASU opened a Center for American Culture on the campus of Sichuan University.582 The Center was “designed to be a model for Sino-American cultural engagement through university-to-university collaboration.”
The establishment of the ASU-SCU Center was the first in a larger network of American Cultural Centers, funded by start-up grants from the U.S. Department of State at universities across China. The State Department hoped these centers would “enable Chinese audiences to better understand the United States, its culture, society, government, language, law, economic system, and values.”583 Unlike the Chinese government’s use of Confucius Institutes, the U.S. government did not pay teachers, provide or vet materials, or monitor activities.
Then US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman congratulated ASU and Sichuan University, expressing confidence that “the center will help build bridges of understanding between the people of the United State [sic] and China, which will ultimately allow us to work together more effectively to tackle the global issues that we face.”584 Thomas Skipper, then Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the US Embassy in Beijing, noted that ASU and Sichuan University were natural partners for this endeavor: “It’s no surprise that Arizona State University and Sichuan University are leading the way in this effort. Both schools have reputations for academic excellence and long records of promoting international exchange.”585
However, the American Cultural Centers faced immediate pushback from the Chinese government, which prevented a number of centers from opening and routinely canceled their events. In 2017, the State Department Inspector General found the programs were “largely ineffective” and in 2018, the Department of State ceased funding the remaining centers.586
Several times during CIASU’s operations, Hanban made requests that ASU initially resisted, but eventually accepted.
One such request involved the installation of a Chinese co-director of the Confucius Institute. Early on, Hanban had permitted host universities to direct the CI, but sometime after 2010, it became standard practice for new CIs to be jointly governed by both American and Chinese co-directors. Stephen West, ASU’s founding CI director, recalled that “For many years there was no Chinese co-director.” When Hanban insisted on adding a Chinese director, ASU resisted, but eventually “caved in,” West recalled. West said he never suspected the Chinese director of spying, but “you’re better off not having it, given the state of play.”587
Young Oh, Associate Professor of Chinese and Sino-Korean in the School of International Letters and Cultures, who served on the CIASU Advisory Board, also recalled the controversy surrounding the Chinese co-director. “The CI made a new rule of having an associate director dispatched from China to each CI,” Oh said. “It felt like they were sending an inspector… People who remember Chinese history felt like they are sending their people to check up on us. Some universities tried to reject it. ASU dodged it longer than others.” Oh considered the controversy representative of ASU’s general relationship with Hanban: “A lot of ways in ASU’s operations, we knew they were trying to do something, but we delayed or pushed back.”588
Oh recalled a second controversy, when Hanban asked ASU to install “a large-screen TV playing Chinese media, CI promotions all day.” He noted: “I think we got the TV but didn’t really play it.”589
A third incident arose after Xu Lin, then Hanban director general, personally censored the programs for the 2014 European Association of Chinese Culture Studies conference in Portugal – a major incident that sparked international coverage. Oh, who attended the conference and witnessed the event, described Xu’s behavior as “answering to the Party, to the political structure of the government… She was looking at her surroundings in the Party,” Oh added. “That makes you understand how CIs run.”
The incident sparked a discussion at ASU, including with a “large donor to ASU’s Chinese program.” Oh recalled discussions about whether to raise concerns to Hanban: “This is where academia and budget reality meet. Should we say something now? Or should we protect ourselves?” Ultimately, ASU chose to remain silent about the issue.
Concerns about Engagement with China
West recalled CIASU’s limited ability to discuss human rights issues in China. “We couldn’t have lectures about Tibet. This was not stated, but it was extremely clear. It was difficult to put on a public event that was in any way critical of modern Chinese politics or ideology.”590
On January 30, 2019, ASU’s student newspaper published an op-ed written by Daniel Rubio, then an undergraduate student, titled “It’s Time for ASU to Reject the Confucius Institute.” Rubio argued that “Regardless of the goals of the Confucius Institute at ASU, the broader aims of the Hanban and the Confucius Institute program worldwide must be considered.”591
Michael Hechter, ASU Foundation professor at the School of Politics and Global Studies, recalled a personal experience from his 2006 trip to China arranged by Stephen West, during which he visited Chengdu, Sichuan, as well as Beijing: “I gave a lecture at Peking University and it was kind of fascinating. The lecture was about nationalism and secessionist issues, at one point I mentioned Xinjiang and all of the sudden two guys in black showed up at the back of the lecture hall. It was my warning that this lecture was being monitored.”592
CIASU Defender: Matt Salmon
ASU’s CI attracted national attention in April 2018, when Matt Salmon, ASU’s Vice President for Government Affairs, called the CI “a real, real blessing” that had been co-funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Salmon, previously a state legislator and later a member of Congress representing Arizona who has established a reputation of being a long-time friend of Taiwan, had appeared at a National Press Club panel sponsored by the Confucius Institute US Center and the US China Strong Foundation. The event was dedicated to boosting Confucius Institutes at a time when they were under widespread criticism. Salmon said, “The Department of Defense has invested in Arizona’s Confucius program because they are looking for this kind of a pipeline to find people who speak Mandarin and are able to do so in their field of study. I think that shows they are not concerned about it being a threat to national security.”593 Salmon elaborated: “I find it a little bit incredulous that there are those who consider teaching Chinese language and culture as posing a security threat... If it does pose a security threat, then the DoD has made a big mistake by funding our program. But I think that shows that they are not concerned about it being a threat to national security. It actually enhanced national security by having that kind of ability.”594
Later an ASU official told a local newspaper when asked about Salmon’s remarks that Salmon “simply misspoke and that ASU never commingled funding for the programs.”595 Yet Salmon’s claim caught the attention of Congress, which a few months later amended the National Defense Authorization Act to forbid any US university from receiving Flagship funding while also operating a Confucius Institute.
At the same event, Salmon also noted when asked about Confucius Institutes: “There is plenty to be concerned about with our relationship with China. But the answer is not to walk away from that relationship. The answer is not to fold up and get rid of these kinds of programs. To me, the answer is to have more of this. So that there can be more mutual understanding, more dialogue, more interaction with one another. So I believe these kinds of programs, they need proper oversight. We need to have mechanisms to ensure that they are doing what they are doing, but I believe those mechanisms are in place.”
Throughout the rest of 2018, Salmon attended other events defending CIASU as well as the Confucius Institute project more broadly. A month after appearing at the National Press Club, Salmon spoke at the 2018 National Chinese Language Conference in Utah, an annual conference cosponsored by the College Board, Asia Society, and Hanban.596 Chinese media reported on Salmon’s appearance, quoting him under his Chinese name, Shao Jianlong (邵建隆).597
In September 2018, Salmon attended the CIUS Center’s annual gala at the National Press Club in Washington DC titled “Building Community, Changing Lives.”598
In November 2018, Salmon joined a delegation visiting CI Headquarters and met with Hanban officials in Beijing. Chinese media reported that:
Matt Salmon said that he was very proud of the Confucius Institute established at Arizona State University as early as 2007. The Confucius Institute has brought positive changes to university teachers and students, and he will continue to support the development of the Confucius Institute. He said that there are some misunderstandings about the Confucius Institute among members of Congress and the American public at present, and it is necessary to convey real information to the public so that more people can understand the importance of the Confucius Institute in improving the relations between the two countries.599
Later in December 2018, while serving as Chairman of the Consulting Committee of the CIUS Center, Salmon delivered a speech at the 13th Confucius Institute Conference in Chengdu, China. His topic was “Shaping and Displaying the Public Image of the Confucius Institutes.” 600 Salmon is no longer at ASU and is now running as a Republican for Governor of Arizona.
ASU’s Other China Initiatives
ASU has enjoyed collaborative relationships with a range of Chinese institutions. As ASU President Michael Crow said in November 2017: “We look at China as a primary place to build connections, linkages, do things together, avoid conflicts in the future.”601
In 2017, ten years after the CI’s founding, ASU furthered its relationship with Sichuan University via a General Collaboration Agreement pledging “to encourage closer academic ties” by way of exchanging faculty and researchers, jointly developing research projects, developing joint undergraduate and graduate degree programs, and to “mutually lend advice, technical support and services.”602
ASU is a top destination for Chinese students studying in the United States, with more than 3,000 enrolled in ASU in 2019.603 ASU advertises itself as “the No. 1 public university chosen by international students.”604
ASU’s W. P. Carey School of Business touts itself as being “directly involved in the development of top leadership in China.” In 2003, it launched the Master of Business Administration program in Shanghai, delivered in collaboration with Shanghai National Accounting Institute, an entity under the governance of China's Ministry of Finance. ASU describes the W.P. Carey MBA - Shanghai Program, offered solely in China, as “the cornerstone of a number of new offerings that include knowledge transfer and access to the highest level of decision-makers in China.”605 Another program was established in collaboration with the Shanghai National Institute of Accounting, which has been formally approved by the Chinese Ministry of Education.606 From 2003 to 2017, ASU received $25.1 million from the Shanghai National Institute of Accounting, according to old copies of ASU’s foreign gift and contract disclosures to the Department of Education. These transactions have since been edited to appear anonymous.607
ASU also received another $4.9 million from the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance between 2013 and 2017, though these disclosures have also since been edited to make the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance anonymous.608
In 2004, the School of Business developed custom Executive Master of Business Administration programs for China Merchants Securities and China Unicom, a state-owned telecommunications operator whose American subsidiary’s license was revoked by the Federal Communications Commission in October 2021 over national security concerns.609
In the words of Amy Ostrom, then Dean of the Carey School of Business, W. P. Carey China Programs’ mission is “to cultivate world-class executives for China’s state-owned enterprises and advance the Sino-U.S. trade relationship through education.”610 Ostrom believed that “By helping the leaders and their firms succeed, we help the Chinese people succeed, and prosperity in China will be essential for global stability and peace.” 611
In November 2014, an ASU delegation headed by President Michael Crow visited the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). CAS Vice President Zhang Yaping reportedly praised ASU’s collaboration with CAS via “long-term exchanges and cooperation in the fields of science and technology innovation policy and sustainable development of ecological cities.” Zhang hoped “the two sides can continue to strengthen existing cooperation in the future and carry out substantive cooperation in new areas of mutual interest.”612
In Fall 2016, the Federation University Sports China (FUSC) sent 200 Chinese coaches from its member colleges to participate in a coaching education program jointly developed by the Pac-12, the University of Utah, and Arizona State University. FUSC is based in Beijing and operates under the Ministry of Education. The China Scholarship Council provided funding for the program.613
In November 2017, ASU President Michael Crow took part in the Global Innovation Summit in Beijing. “Next fall will be an international graduate program in which the W. P. Carey School of Business is partnering with both Sichuan University in China and Woosong University in South Korea. Students will study one year at each institution and graduate with three degrees: a master’s of finance from ASU, a master’s of science in corporate finance from Sichuan and an MBA from Woosong.”614 Later in the same month, ASU co-hosted the “U.S.-China Youth Forum on Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Economic Opportunities in Shenzhen — considered the Silicon Valley of China.” “The event will pair 50 American with 50 Chinese entrepreneurs, and they will learn about what’s required to enter both the Chinese and U.S. markets. Speakers will include Nate Blecharczyk, co-founder of Airbnb.” Then ASU’s director of global initiatives William Brashears declared: “We feel the most important part of this will be to make connections with top Chinese entrepreneurs and build long-term relationships, and see what the Chinese are doing with accelerators and incubators — the entire innovation movement in China.”
ASU also launched three online master’s degree programs (delivered in Mandarin) specifically for working professionals based in China: Master of Science in Psychology, Master of Science in Computing and Technology, and MA in Applied Leadership and Management.615 ASU also partners with the Chinese Academy of Sciences and China’s Ministry of Science and Technology “to promote language, innovation, business leadership, health sciences, sustainability, tourism and creativity.”616
Closing the CI
In May 2019, ASU announced CI’s closure, effective May 31, 2019. The decision came after it was denied a waiver from the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act forbidding universities from hosting both a Chinese Language Flagship Program and a Confucius Institute.617 CI advisory board member Young Oh recalled: “The university was reluctant to give up the CI,” though it quickly realized that “Flagship is more significant.” Oh said he and others had also become frustrated by Hanban’s focus on using CIASU to reach K-12 students: “The CI was not helping us in the way it used to” but had become “more about general education for the community. It was becoming a burden.”
ASU told Inside Higher Ed that it was “in the process of exploring options that would allow the Confucius Institute to continue to serve Arizona’s K-12 community.”618
In May 2019, just as CIASU was winding down operations, ASU hosted a delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Education to discuss ongoing collaboration.619 ASU had previously secured the Ministry of Education’s approval for the International College of Tourism (launched with Hainan University620 at a time when the Chinese government “identified tourism as a growing enterprise”621) and now discussed a possible expansion in its partnership with Hainan. The Ministry of Education approved, and in November 2019, ASU signed a “letter of intent to cooperate” with Hainan University.622 The two universities established the Thunderbird School of International Trade to offer undergraduate and graduate programs in international trade, finance, and accounting. Hainan University announced that “other planned fields of cooperation include big data application, art and design.”623
The China Scholarship Council, which had launched the sports coach program in 2016, paid ASU $594,990 on October 15, 2019 and $345,669 on November 1, 2019. ASU previously disclosed these amounts in its Section 117 filings with the Department of Education, though these have since been edited to make the source anonymous.
ASU and Sichuan have continued to launch new endeavors, in addition to maintaining their sister university relationship. On September 29, 2019, ASU and West China Hospital/West China School of Medicine of Sichuan University announced the formation of the Biodesign Institute. CIASU’s former Chinese director Guan Ping attended the signing ceremony.624 The institute will work on “individualized diagnosis and precision medicine, immunotherapy and viral therapy, synthetic biology and related disciplines, cross-training of postgraduates and postdoctoral students, and joint cultivation of high-level innovative talent.”625
What Happened to CIASU Staff?
Of the CIASU staff, only Fannie Tam has remained at ASU. She is currently the Director of International Initiatives in the Office of University Provost. Tam had served as CIASU’s managing director from its opening in 2007 to its closure in 2019. Former Chinese CI Director Guan Ping appears to have returned to Sichuan University. Young Oh, Associate Professor in the School of International Letters and Cultures, served as an advisory member of CIASU from 2008 to the time CIASU closed.626 Oh is still a faculty member at ASU. According to Oh, the CI is “almost strangely absent now” that the CI teachers have returned to China. “Not that we tried to erase the CI,” Oh said, but it now feels “almost like an amicable break-up.”
ASU’s CI enjoyed a broad reach on campus and beyond during its operation from 2007 to 2019: working closely with ASU’s federally funded Startalk Program and Flagship Program, developing AP Chinese curricula for high school teachers, hosting China-related events (including some involving the Chinese Consulate), and displaying and distributing Hanban’s books and resources. “A real real blessing,” ASU Vice President Matt Salmon had called it, at a 2018 National Press Club event defending Confucius Institutes in the wake of national criticism.
In 2019, after Salmon’s comments prompted Congress to bar universities from hosting both a CI and a Chinese Language Flagship Program, ASU closed its Confucius Institute. Yet its relationship with a multitude of Chinese institutions, including its CI partner Sichuan University, have continued.
In February 2022, US Senator Marco Rubio highlighted some of ASU’s ongoing collaborations with Sichuan University, which is itself a key player in China’s military build-up:
Even though Arizona State shuttered its Confucius Institute, the university elected to maintain its partnership with Sichuan University, which, according to public records, actively supports Beijing’s military-industrial complex. This joint partnership includes immersion opportunities for Arizona State students and faculty in the PRC as well as joint research on infectious diseases and other issues. More specifically, Sichuan University was added to the U.S. Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security’s Entity List, which restricts the exportation of sensitive items to designated entities and individuals. Sichuan was added to the Entity List as an alias of the China Academy of Engineering Physics, Beijing’s nuclear weapons facility, which is co-located on Sichuan’s campus and staffed by Sichuan professors and students. Sichuan’s Institute of Atomic and Molecular Physics and CAEP also jointly established the Institute of Atomic and Molecular Engineering and the Institute of High Temperature and High-Pressure Physics to conduct atomic research for Beijing’s military.627
Rubio had written to some 22 American universities, warning them of possible involvement in Beijing’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy. Rubio noted that Sichuan University in particular hosts at least three PLA defense laboratories working in areas such as nuclear technology, and that in 2011 and again in 2016, “Sichuan was included in joint collaboration agreements between the Chinese Ministry of Education and SASTIND” whose aim was “to increase Sichuan’s involvement in sensitive Chinese defense research.” 628
ASU may have severed ties with its Confucius Institute, but appears to remain entangled in Beijing’s Military-Civil Fusion strategy– intentionally or not.
The Confucius Institute at Purdue University (CIP) opened in 2007 as one of the earlier programs in the United States. Before closing the CI in 2019 because of provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the university had built partnerships with Chinese universities that had significant ties to China’s military. Additionally, over the course of the program’s tenure, CIP developed and nurtured a Confucius Classroom (CC) program in the Lafayette K-12 school system, bringing Chinese instruction to Indiana. When CIP closed, Purdue maintained aspects of the program’s content, but without Hanban’s oversight. Despite CIP’s closure, Purdue continues to have issues with bullying by Chinese students supportive of Beijing’s views on sensitive issues.
Establishment and History
The Confucius Institute at Purdue University began with a Fall 2006 agreement signed by Purdue President Martin C. Jischke and Hanban director Xu Lin.629 Under Article One of the agreement, CIP would operate as an “autonomous institute within the University,” under the supervision of a seven-member Advisory Board of Directors, whose membership was subject to Hanban approval.630 The Chair was to be held by the president or administrator of Purdue, the Vice Chair would be “appointed by Hanban,”631 and at least one seat was reserved for China’s Consulate General in Chicago. Under the terms of the formulation agreement, CIP’s curriculum and teaching materials would be overseen by the Hanban-approved Advisory Board.632
The arrangement between Purdue and the Hanban involved not only substantial material support for CIP from China, but also periodic renewals for the institute’s function. Under Article Four of the establishing agreement, the Hanban supplied $100,000 as “seed funding” for CIP, its “initial promotion,” and its “first year’s operational expenses.”633 It also provided “no less than 3,000 volumes” of instructional materials.634 Under Article Five, the formal relationship would automatically renew every five years, barring a “request for termination.”635
Less than a month after Purdue signed the agreement with Hanban, three Purdue administrators sent Hanban a follow-up letter offering “clarifications” to Purdue’s interpretation of the agreement. Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Riall W. Nolan, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts John J. Contreni, and Director of Sponsored Program and Purchasing Services Larry Pherson Purdue asserted that “the CIP Director will receive direction from and be accountable to the Provost” of Purdue, and that “in the event of a conflict between the regulations or [if] the Institute regulations are not in compliance with US law then Purdue University regulations will apply.”636
An opening ceremony was held in May 2007, marking CIP’s formal launch as a “collaboration” between Purdue’s Colleges of Liberal Arts and Engineering, the Krannert School of Management, and Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai (SJTU).637 Tan Ying from the Chinese Consulate in Chicago attended, as did representatives from the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and Indiana state education officials.638
Initially the Krannert Building housed the CI, and the Krannert School of Management, which at the time had “educational and research agreements with three leading universities in China” prepared to “play an active role in the Confucius Institute.”639 CIP focused on business Chinese courses and Chinese language teacher training, including for-credit courses.640
In 2010, Purdue Provost Timothy Sands wrote to Hanban confirming the university’s wish to renew their relationship Sands, noted that the university planned to maintain its relationship with SJTU, and thanked Hanban for its “generous funding support.”641 The letter underscored CIP’s “service to the K-12 audience and the business community,” as well as programs such as the “Beijing Olympics Volunteer Program” the “World Expo in Shanghai Learning Component,” and a program to build ties between Indiana mayors and China.642
CIP aimed to reach other government agencies, and in 2011, CIP held the “Indiana State Department of Education Director’s Roundtable Forum,” which brought together Indiana educators from multiple K-12 schools, along with members of the Indiana State Assembly, to observe CIP’s programming.643
When Beijing hosted the Summer Olympics in 2008, CIP hosted and sponsored a program to send Purdue communication majors to the games in order to work alongside major media outlets covering the events.644 As part of the initiative, the Purdue students attending the games would receive “training” from the Communication University of China (CUC),645 which is known for training professionals for China’s state-run media outlets.646
CIP’s involvement with media training was not an isolated instance. In May 2010, CIP hosted a training seminar for 16 CI directors in the US. Wei Hong commented to Chinese state media outlet Xinhua that
With the growth of the CIs in the United States and globally, CIs have developed into a visible presence on university campuses and are becoming widely recognized as major centers for the support of Chinese culture and language instruction. In order to support CIs and let the world gain a better understanding of China, we come up with the idea to collaborate with Hanban to organize a US CI directors media training seminar by inviting media experts, reporters and professors to give lectures and speeches on subjects of public diplomacy, branding and effective media interaction to directors of US CIs.647
Other programs and events within CIP’s purview included cultural fixtures, such as annual Lunar New Year celebrations. In 2016 and 2018, for example, CIP hosted Chinese New Year festivities involving dance performances and receptions on campus.648 CIP, through its Confucius Institute Performing Art Troupe, helped to organize annual dance events, including a 2015 dance show in which a student club, the Han Culture Association, presented dances representing not only the Han, but also the Li, Dai, Yi, and Uyghur minorities.649
Through CIP, Hanban reached Indiana K-12 schools as well. Even before the establishment of CIP, Purdue University had helped bring Hanban teachers to local K-12 schools through the College Board/Hanban Chinese Guest Teacher Program, an effort that only intensified with the establishment of the Confucius Institute.650 In his 2010 letter to Hanban, Sands noted that roughly 8,000 students in the “Greater Lafayette community” partook in CIP’s events and offerings.651 In another letter to Hanban stating Purdue’s interest in renewing CIP, the university noted that those in the community “benefitting” from the program stood at 10,000, and that CIP was being promoted “throughout Indiana.”652
CIP also worked with the Purdue’s campus chapter of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA), an organization closely tied to the Chinese Embassy and frequently used by the Chinese government to monitor students. Wei Hong, CIP’s director, served simultaneously as advisor to Purdue’s CSSA.653 Purdue President Mitch Daniels praised the Purdue University CSSA, saying that “There is nothing we are more proud of than our status in attracting more Chinese students than any other school in the United States.,” for which “no organization has been important” than the CSSA.654
By 2016, CIP sought to position itself as the key to all relationships with Chinese institutions. “The new model for CIP as it enters the 9th year, is to become a central
platform for all China-related programs at Purdue,” CIP’s 2016 annual report proclaimed.655
A Funnel for Chinese Investment
A major theme in CIP’s work involved facilitating Chinese investment in Indiana.
As early as 2007—CIP’s founding year—CI director Wei Hong coached local Caterpillar managers on etiquette in Chinese transactions. The Chinese version of CIP’s 2007 annual report, translated into English, specified that “The participants were all middle and senior managers of the company, and they were interested in expanding cooperation with China.”656 In 2008 CIP cosponsored a conference, “Discovering China in Business and Engineering,” in conjunction with Discovery Park (Purdue’s research park) and Purdue’s Center for International Business Education and Research. Some 80 business executives attended the event, headlined by a keynote address from Consul General, Huang Ping, from the PRC Consulate in Chicago.657
CIP also put together the Indiana Mayoral Roundtable on China aimed to connect local Indiana governments with Chinese investment. CIP’s director, Chinese language professor Wei Hong, described the Institute’s role as to “help the leaders of Indiana’s cities learn more about China and to better attract Chinese investment to their communities.”658
At a workshop for facilitating local ties with China held on February 25, 2011, the consul general of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago delivered a keynote speech about “trends in Chinese investment in the Midwest.”659 Mitch Daniels, who would later become Purdue’s president, was then serving as Indiana’s governor. He attended the consul’s speech and helped organize and lead delegations from the state to China to help cement business ties.660
Decision to Close and Aftermath
In January 2013, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels began serving as Purdue’s president. In the same year, he commissioned a review of CIP, a one-page update by Wei Hong submitted in October 2013. Hong advised increasing CIP’s reach and expanding ties with Shanghai Jiao Tong University to include “campus-wide connection.”661
In March 2018, Purdue’s Deputy General Counsel undertook a second review of CIP. Then Daniels commissioned a third review of CIP, undertaken by Chris Yeomans, head of Purdue’s Philosophy Department and liaison to the College of Liberal Arts; Mark Lubbers, described by Purdue’s General Counsel Steven Schultz as a “distinguished Purdue alum, Indiana businessman, and former advisor to two Indiana governors”; and Bill Moreau, described by Schultz as a “distinguished Purdue alum and former trustee, prominent attorney, and former chief of staff to another Indiana governor.”
The third review submitted to Daniels in August 2018 recommended that Purdue “terminate its agreement with Hanban, shut down CIP, develop a plan for transferring programs worth continuing, and ensure that no Purdue employees are adversely affected thereby.”662
The review noted that CIP was “funded exclusively by a $100,000 annual grant” from the Hanban, but that it had been “been ably managed by Prof. Hong with strong, engaged oversight by CIP’s Advisory Board.663 Yeomans and his fellow reviewers concluded that “The activities of CIP have not been offensive, and indeed, have been regarded as beneficial. Furthermore, the specific situations that have caused several universities to shutter their CIs have not occurred at CIP.”
Nevertheless, the review held that “a minimal threshold is not a sufficient test of value to the University,” hence “on balance, valid reasons to sunset CIP outweigh continuing its existence.”
Purdue’s review team gave three reasons for closing CIP. One, “certain topics are considered ‘off limits’ by CIP for fear of offending its Hanban sponsors,” including Taiwan, Tiananmen Square, Tibet, and human rights issues. Two, CIP jeopardized access to federal grants. Three, the group felt Purdue had such well-established relationships in China that “sunsetting CIP should have no negative impact” on Purdue’s overall relationship with Chinese institutions.664
Daniels followed the recommendations and ordered CIP’s closure effective January 31, 2019.
Concerns about self-censorship and bullying also played a role in Purdue’s unease with CIP, and remained an issue after its 2019 closure. Chris Yeomans, Purdue’s department head in philosophy who headed the internal review of CIP, said in an interview that he had a “sense” that “there was just self-censorship involved,” and that there was likely a higher likelihood of censorship in programs with “Chinese graduate students.”665 David Reingold, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, observed that different factions among the Chinese student body “were sort of struggling to be the voice of representing the Chinese voice at the university.” Reingold said the “pro-Chinese regime community” rallied around the CI, which had a “sort of alliance” with the pro-Beijing side.666
These concerns were validated when a ProPublica story broke discussing pro-Beijing bullying on Purdue’s campus (discussed later in this case study).
After shutting down CIP, Purdue did sever many of its ties with SJTU due to national security concerns.667 Nevertheless, it maintained some of its ties to SJTU, and by extension, the Chinese military.668 Foundation for the Defense of Democracy (FDD) in 2021 noted that Purdue’s partner university, SJTU, is integral to China’s defense establishment through involvement in Beijing’s nuclear program, cyber espionage, and support for the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).669 According to the report, Purdue maintains joint ventures with SJTU, while SJTU itself is heavily involved in developing nuclear technologies and is thought to have been involved in waging cyberattacks against the US.670 Purdue’s ties to SJTU include a dual-degree program in Mechanical Engineering, established with Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2020, two years after the CI closed.671
Purdue also retained some of CIP’s programming, albeit funded without the Hanban. In an interview, Purdue’s provost Jay Akridge noted that CIP’s “language trainings and cultural events” were “very, very small scale,” and that the university continued the programming “without being encumbered by the relationship with the Hanban.”672 David Reingold, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, told us that “we took some select activities that had been organized through this Confucius Institute, and that we thought sort of had some community value” and continued their operation.673
Beginning February 1, 2019, one day after CIP closed, the Office of the Provost and the Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences committed to jointly fund a $45,000 per year Chinese language and culture program, to be headed by Wei Hong, the former CI director. The original commitment expired on February 1, 2022. It is unclear if Purdue has renewed its funding for the program.
Purdue also worked to help Confucius Classrooms remain open. When asked about maintaining the Chinese language programming for K-12 students, Yeomans noted that “the work in the K-12 schools was good work,” and that there were no “feelings that it was propaganda or anything like that.”674 Purdue maintained the aims of CIP, but “without the connection to the Hanban.”675
In 2022, Purdue's administration was praised in the National Review for standing up for those Chinese students bullied by pro-Beijing students on campus.676 In a statement lambasting students for bullying critics of Beijing, Purdue’s president, former Indiana governor Mitch Daniels, stated that attending the university mandated “acceptance of its rules and values,” such as “freedom of inquiry and expression.”677 In a veiled swipe at Beijing’s on-campus influence, Daniels asserted that “those who collude with foreign governments in repressing” rights such as free inquiry “will need to pursue their education elsewhere.”678
Bullying by Chinese students of those critical of Beijing is ominous at Purdue, as a ProPublica report uncovered late last year. Chinese students at Purdue who are viewed as too active in commemorating the Tiananmen Square Massacre, critical of China’s role in the Covid-19 pandemic, or being too religious not only face online harassment, but also receive messages from their families in China relaying threats.679 Such dynamics highlight the connection between many Chinese students who receive government funding from the PRC and Beijing’s state repression. As noted by Yeomans, many programs with Chinese graduate students can become environments prone to self-censorship; indeed, the insidious pro-Beijing bullying noted by ProPublica related to Purdue graduate students who dared cross Beijing’s interests.680 Dynamics such as this led to Mitch Daniels’ defense of free speech on campus, and the subsequent petitions by Chinese students attacking him for “bias.”681 Unfortunately despite CIP’s closure, Beijing’s presence is still felt at Purdue.
Congress, state legislators, and state and federal bodies should recognize that Chinese government influence operations remain active—including at institutions that have closed a Confucius Institute.
Government agencies should protect against undue Chinese government influence, protect K-12 specifically against Confucius Classrooms, ensure transparency of foreign gifts and contracts, and simplify open records laws.
Forestalling Undue Chinese Government Influence
Policymakers will be tempted to begin a game of CCP whack-a-mole: cracking down first on Confucius Institutes, and then on any other subsequent form CIs devise for themselves. This approach is short-sighted. While Congress can and should enact short-term measures that provide immediate protection against the reincarnation of Confucius Institutes, it should also consider more powerful, long-term measures that reckon with the size and scope of Chinese Communist Party influence campaigns on American higher education.
- In the short-term, protect against post-CI influence campaigns. Therefore:
- Amend the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which currently bars Department of Defense funding from institutions with Confucius Institutes, to also prohibit such funding to any institution that:
- Partners with or receives funding from Hanban’s two successors, the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation and the Chinese International Education Foundation;
- Partners with a Confucius Institute, even if the institution does not host the CI; or
- Brings as Chinese teachers Chinese nationals recruited through the Chinese Guest Teacher Program or from a Chinese university, unless specifically granted a waiver by the Department of Defense.
- Institute new laws, modeled on the NDAA, prohibiting other sources of government funding to institutions that partner with CIs or successor organizations (as outlined above). The first targets should be agencies and departments that fund STEM fields, including the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and NASA.
- Require that any nonprofit involved in facilitating Confucius Institute programs—such as BG Education Management Solutions run by former Western Kentucky University CI director Terrill Martin—shall be subject to the same transparency requirements that Section 117 mandates for colleges and universities.
- Amend the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which currently bars Department of Defense funding from institutions with Confucius Institutes, to also prohibit such funding to any institution that:
- Protect against long-term Chinese government influence operations. Therefore:
- Make Chinese funding less attractive by
- Instituting a tax on funds institutions receive via Chinese gifts and contracts;
- Capping the amount of Chinese funding universities may receive before jeopardizing eligibility for federal funding; and
- Prohibiting federal funding to colleges and universities that enter research partnerships with Chinese universities involved in China’s military-civil fusion.
- Make Chinese funding less attractive by
To reiterate one point: this report shows that multiple colleges and universities believe partnering with CIEF, CLEC, or a Confucius Institute hosted by a different university will not affect their eligibility for funding under the NDAA. San Francisco State University closed its CI explicitly because of the NDAA,682 yet sought additional Hanban funding to complete a textbook research project.683 The University of Washington, one of our case studies, cited the NDAA,684 yet has contemplated establishing new ties with CLEC or CIEF,685 and with the CI at Pacific Lutheran University.686
Addressing Confucius Classrooms
Many Confucius Classrooms survive the closure of their sponsoring Confucius Institute. Yet for all the attention that Confucius Institutes have received, Confucius Classrooms are poorly researched. The federal government has not yet devoted attention to Confucius Classrooms, but it should, as should state governments.
- Study the extent of Confucius Classrooms’ reach. There is no public list of Confucius Classrooms in the country, making their reach difficult to track. The U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations should study Confucius Institutes and issue a report, as it did for Confucius Institutes in 2019.687
- Investigate visa use. The State Department investigated multiple Confucius Institutes, finding teachers who failed to meet the requirements for the visas on which they had come. The State Department should likewise look at Confucius Classrooms and ensure that they and their staff follow all visa regulations.
- Mandate transparency. There is no K-12 equivalent of “Section 117,” which requires colleges and universities to disclose foreign gifts and contracts. Congress should institute a parallel requirement for K-12 schools.
- Highlight and enforce existing laws. Our case study at the University of Washington found that the university ran all donations through a third-party nonprofit, the Alliance for Education, because its K-12 partner, the Seattle Public Schools, was legally forbidden from accepting federal funds. The Seattle Public Schools’ flagrant disregard for the law deserves greater attention.
Foreign Gift Transparency
The public should know when colleges and universities accept funds from foreign donors, whether through a gift or through a contract. Federal law, known as “Section 117,” requires some disclosures, but the law is outdated, under-enforced, and full of loopholes.
We brought to light the many problems with Section 117 after the publication of our 2017 report, Outsourced to China. We were delighted when the Department of Education under the Trump Administration enforced the law, provided updated guidance, and published a report on colleges’ failure to follow the law.688 These efforts led to colleges and universities back-reporting some $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign funding.689
Many members of Congress have introduced bills to reform Section 117 (including Senators Marsha Blackburn, Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio), but none of these have yet become law. It is crucial that Congress act. The law’s shortcomings surpass the authority of the Department of Education to address without Congressional authorization. It is crucial, too, that Congress address all the problems plaguing Section 117. It will not suffice to close a couple of loopholes but permit others to remain, as some recent bills (the Innovation and Competition Act, and the COMPETES Act) would do.
Congress should amend Section 117 to:
- Strengthen disclosure requirements. Therefore:
- Remove the $250,000 disclosure threshold. Far smaller gifts carry great weight.
- Require disclosure of the purpose of any foreign gift or contract, including the terms of the gift/contract and copies of all signed agreements.
- Eliminate loopholes. Therefore:
- Require the name of the foreign party, regardless of whether that party is a foreign government.
- Clarify that gifts made by registered foreign agents are subject to disclosure as well.
- Clarify that gifts made to university foundations or other entities that operate primarily for the benefit of the college or university are subject to disclosure as well.
- Institute a parallel reporting requirement for K-12 schools, which frequently host Confucius Classrooms but are not subject to Section 117.
- Institute stiff penalties for noncompliance, such as $250,000 or the value of the non-reported gift, as Senator Tom Cotton proposed in the Foreign Funding Accountability Act.
- Additionally, include in the Program Participation Agreement (which all institutions that accept federal student aid must sign with the Department of Education) a requirement that the institution must certify and notarize an attestation that it has complied with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act.
- Make disclosures user-friendly. Therefore:
- Provide complete datasets (1981 to present) on all three sites where the Department of Education currently houses Section 117 disclosures in piecemeal fashion: the interactive dashboard at the College Foreign Gift and Contract Report website at https://sites.ed.gov/foreigngifts/; the spreadsheet available as a hyperlink on the College Foreign Gift and Contract Report website at https://sites.ed.gov/foreigngifts/; and the Foreign Gift and Contract Report hosted by the Federal Student Aid Office at https://studentaid.gov/data-center/school/foreign-gifts.
- Update the interactive dashboard to enable users to download more than 10 lines of data at a time, analyze data, and aggregate data. We heartily endorse the granular but important recommendations made by the Lincoln Network in “Using Technology and Data Analysis to Improve Oversight of Foreign Influence in American Postsecondary Education.”690
- Outlaw deleting old data. Therefore:
- Note any changes to past data, including the date the change was made and what the previous disclosure stated. Whenever an institution petitions to correct past disclosures, or if the Department of Education itself edits past disclosures, it ought to disclose to the public what changes have been made.
Three points in the above list bear reiterating. Colleges must be required to disclose the terms of their gifts or contracts, including true copies of any agreements. The law currently asks colleges to self-describe restricted gifts. The descriptions are vague, spotty, and impossible to verify.
The name of the foreign donor is particularly important. Current law requires the name only if the foreign party is a government. The Hanban neatly sidestepped this requirement when it spun off CIEF, which is technically a nonprofit, whose gifts are therefore shielded from the full disclosure requirements of Section 117. Any other foreign government agency can easily do the same.
The Department of Education must be required to post a notice any time old data is edited. Under the Biden Administration, Section 117 disclosures have been extensively revised and edited, with hundreds of data points disappearing—mostly donor names. Earlier in this report we described one such incident involving the University of Michigan, which deleted Section 117 data showing major gifts from the Hanban just as the CI was closing.
In researching for this report, we filed records requests in 41 states. Although this is not a study of Freedom of Information laws, we found that many states’ laws are needlessly complex, archaic, and so ineptly implemented they would seem designed to prevent, rather than empower, the American public from accessing public information.
States should do better. Here are some guidelines.
- Prevent unreasonable fees. The University of Tennessee wanted $937.61 to provide agreements related to its Confucius Institute—documents that most other universities sent to us at no charge.
- Require a response time. The state of Arizona (and others) merely asks public bodies to respond “promptly.” Ten months after filing a request with the University of Arizona (and just as this report went to press), we have finally received documents.
- Do not exempt correspondence. In South Dakota, “correspondence, memoranda, calendars or logs, working papers, and records of telephone calls of public officials and employees” are exempt from records requests.691 South Dakota is an outlier. Most of the fifty states require correspondence to be included—as we believe they should.
- Institute penalties for willful withholding of documents. Many times, universities denied the existence of documents that we had strong evidence did in fact exist. In some cases (the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the University of Massachusetts Boston, Georgia State University) we did eventually get the documents. In other cases, we didn’t. States should hold institutions accountable for preventing disclosure of public records.
- Define “research” exemptions narrowly. Indiana University Assistant General Counsel Amelia A. Marvel claimed that all agreements with Sun Yat-sen University (Indiana University’s former CI partner) were exempt from disclosure because they constituted “information concerning research.” We assume the state legislature meant to protect the security of research in progress, but we fail to see why a contract with another university—even if the contract involved joint research—deserves special exemption.
- Do not define “public records” on narrow funding requirements. The University of Delaware tells us that none of its records are public, unless they involve a handful of specific programs that the state legislature has singled out by name for designated funding. Any university programs that benefit from taxpayer-supplied general operating funds do not count as public records. Hence, virtually the entire operation of the University of Delaware and its counterparts are not subject to open records requests.
- Mandate electronic infrastructure that permits whole-system email searches. Many universities claimed they had no way to find correspondence unless we could provide the name and email address of the person—and some would limit searches to a maximum of two or three names per request. We were sufficiently perseverant to try variations in multiple follow-up records requests, but that shouldn’t have been necessary in the first place.
1 “Episode 5: “‘Standing on the Riverbank, Confucius Said’ (Dr. Clayton Daniel Mote Jr.),” People’s Daily Online, January 20, 2020, http://world.people.com.cn/n1/2020/0120/c1002-31557106.html, accessed January 18, 2022.
2 “Confucius Institute Constitution,” Hanban, archived on Wayback Machine, February 2, 2019, https://web.archive.org/web/20140422233246/http://english.hanban.org/node_7880.htm#no3, accessed April 14, 2022.
3 “Confucius Classrooms,” Asia Society, http://sites.asiasociety.org/confuciusclassroom/?page_id=3, accessed January 18, 2022.
4 Christopher Wray, testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence, Hearing on “Worldwide Threats,” February 13, 2018, https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/hearings/open-hearing-worldwide-threats-0, accessed January 18, 2022.
5 “Letter From Under Secretary Keith Krach to the Governing Boards of American Universities,” U.S. Department of State, August 18, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/letter-from-under-secretary-keith-krach-to-the-governing-boards-of-american-universities/index.html, accessed January 18, 2022. See also Michael R. Pompeo, “Designation of the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a Foreign Mission of the PRC,” U.S. Department of State, August 13, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/designation-of-the-confucius-institute-u-s-center-as-a-foreign-mission-of-the-prc/index.html, accessed January 18, 2022.
6 Mike Pompeo and Betsy DeVos, “Joint Letter to Commissioners of Education About China's Confucius Classrooms Program,” available at USC US-China Institute, October 14, 2020, https://china.usc.edu/mike-pompeo-and-betsy-devos-joint-letter-commissioners-education-about-chinas-confucius-classrooms, accessed January 18, 2022.
7 Email from Ricardo Vazquez to Flora Yan, NAS, subject “RE: Inquiry regarding Confucius Institute at UCLA,” February 2, 2021.
8 Debing Su, “U-M to End Agreement with Confucius Institute Next Year,” The University Record, December 10, 2018, https://record.umich.edu/articles/u-m-end-agreement-confucius-institute-next-year/, accessed January 18, 2022.
9 Yuichiro Kakutani, “China-Backed Confucius Institute Rebrands to Avoid Scrutiny,” Washington Free Beacon, March 17, 2021, https://freebeacon.com/campus/china-backed-confucius-institute-rebrands-to-avoid-scrutiny/, accessed January 18, 2022.
10 Letter from Timothy C. Caboni to “Colleagues,” published by WKU News, April 22, 2019, https://www.wku.edu/news/articles/index.php?view=article&articleid=7628, accessed January 18, 2022.
11 Marshall Sahlins, “China U.,” The Nation, October 30, 2013, https://www.thenation.com/article/archive/china-u/, accessed January 18, 2022.
12 Dickinson State University did cancel a Confucius Institute contract in 2012, two years before the University of Chicago closed its Confucius Institute. But Dickinson’s Confucius Institute had never gotten off the ground, and the cancellation forestalled the opening of a once-agreed-upon Confucius Institute.
13 Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, “On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes,” American Association of University Professors, June 2014, https://www.aaup.org/report/confucius-institutes, accessed January 18, 2022.
14 Christopher Wray, testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence, Hearing on “Worldwide Threats,” February 13, 2018, https://www.intelligence.senate.gov/hearings/open-hearing-worldwide-threats-0,. accessed January 18, 2022.
15 China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System, Staff Report of the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, 2019,
16 Jason Bair, Testimony Before the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Committee on Homeland
Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, February 28, 2019, https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-19-401t.pdf, accessed January 18, 2022.
17 Michael R. Pompeo, “Designation of the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a Foreign Mission of the PRC,” U.S. Department of State, August 13, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/designation-of-the-confucius-institute-u-s-center-as-a-foreign-mission-of-the-prc/index.html, accessed January 28, 2022.
18 “Letter From Under Secretary Keith Krach to the Governing Boards of American Universities,” U.S. Department of State, August 18, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/letter-from-under-secretary-keith-krach-to-the-governing-boards-of-american-universities/index.html, accessed January 18, 2022. See also Pompeo, cited supra.
19 Mike Pompeo and Betsy DeVos, “Joint Letter to Commissioners of Education About China's Confucius Classrooms Program,” October 14, 2020, available at USC US-China Institute, https://china.usc.edu/mike-pompeo-and-betsy-devos-joint-letter-commissioners-education-about-chinas-confucius-classrooms, accessed January 18, 2022.
20 “Concerning the Threat of Authoritarian Influence and the Defense of Public Institutions,” Athenai Institute, May 13, 2022, https://ded2c2d3-2166-446c-a941-a2344cb88920.filesusr.com/ugd/d5a0ea_dbff4b7746544e3c87d17d426515c7b1.pdf, accessed January 18, 2022.
21 “China’s Confucius Institutes,” Conservative Party Human Rights Commission, February 2019, https://conservativepartyhumanrightscommission.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CPHRC_Confucius_Institutes_report_FEBRUARY_2019-1.pdf. accessed January 18, 2022.
22 Oliver Moody, “Swedes Axe China-Backed Confucius School Scheme as Relations Sour,” The Times, April 21, 2020, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/swedes-axe-china-backed-confucius-school-scheme-as-relations-sour-7n56ld2v3, accessed April 18, 2022.
23 Walter Sim, “Japan to Probe China-Funded Confucius Institutes Amid Propaganda, Spy Threat,” The Straits Time, June 11, 2021, https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/east-asia/japan-to-probe-china-funded-confucius-institutes-amid-propaganda-spy-threat, accessed February 22, 2022.
24 Mark McLoughlin, “Call for Investigation into Chinese Confucius Institutes in Schools,” The Times, June 12, 2021, https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/call-for-investigation-into-chinese-confucius-institutes-in-schools-5bkpznn9d, accessed February 22, 2022.
25 Jenni Fink, “China Issues List of 'Wrongdoings' to U.S., Demands Behaviors Must Stop,” Newsweek, July 26, 2021, https://www.newsweek.com/china-issues-list-wrongdoings-us-demand-behaviors-must-stop-1613074, accessed February 22, 2022.
26 See, for example, letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Michael Schill, President of the University of Oregon, March 18, 2019.
27 Letter from Qian Xuhong, President, East China Normal University, to Michael H. Schill, President, University of Oregon, April 18, 2019.
28 “News from Confucius Institute U.S. Center,” PR Newswire, undated, https://www.prnewswire.com/news/confucius-institute-u.s.-center/, accessed February 22, 2022.
29 Confucius Institute U.S. Center, “Confucius Institute U.S. Center Open Letter to Editors Nationwide:
Before you Publish Another CI Story, Read the GAO Report,” PR Newswire, July 26, 2020, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/confucius-institute-us-center-open-letter-to-editors-nationwide-301094488.html, accessed February 22, 2022.
30 “New TV Series on Building U.S.-China Education Bridges,” Confucius Institute U.S. Center, archived on WayBack Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20201001190559/https://www.ciuscenter.org/new-tv-series-on-building-u-s-china-education-bridges/, accessed February 22, 2022.
31 Confucius Institute U.S. Center, “U.S. - China Educational Exchanges: 40 Years of Engagement in Higher Education,” YouTube, August 24, 2018, beginning at 12:28, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY6i5Dqii4Y&t=1s, accessed February 22, 2022.
32 Dong Leshuo, “US Educators Defend Confucius Institutes,” China Daily, April 28, 2018, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201804/28/WS5ae3ab6aa3105cdcf651b0b6.html, accessed February 22, 2022.
33 Josh Rogin, “Pentagon Barred from Funding Confucius Institutes on American Campuses,” Washington Post, August 14, 2018, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/josh-rogin/wp/2018/08/14/pentagon-barred-from-funding-confucius-institutes-on-american-campuses/, accessed February 22, 2022.
34 Ian Johnson, “Mr. Biden, Enough With the Tough Talk on China,” New York Times, March 19, 2021, https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/19/opinion/us-china-biden.html, accessed February 22, 2022.
35 Jamie P. Horsley, “It’s Time for a New Policy on Confucius Institutes,” Lawfare, April 1, 2021, https://www.lawfareblog.com/its-time-new-policy-confucius-institutes, accessed February 22, 2022.
36 Omar Said, “Despite Federal Concerns, UCLA Will not Close Confucius Institute,” Daily Bruin, February 15, 2018, https://dailybruin.com/2018/02/15/despite-federal-concerns-ucla-will-not-close-confucius-institute, accessed February 22, 2022.
37 Clint Reid, “The Chinese Communist Party’s Influence in Alabama Education,” Yellow Hammer, June 1, 2021, https://yellowhammernews.com/guest-the-chinese-communist-partys-influence-in-alabama-education/, February 22, 2022.
38 Renewal of Agreement Between Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and Troy University on Co-Development of Confucius Institute at Troy University, 2018.
39 Chen Xi, “New NGO to Operate China's Confucius Institutes, 'disperse misinterpretation',” Global Times, July 5, 2020, archived on Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20200706052229/https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1193584.shtml, accessed February 23, 2022.
40 Yang Shen, “Confucius Institutes to Better Serve Chinese Diplomacy,” Global Times, January 24, 2018, archived at Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20180124201144/https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1086405.shtml, accessed February 23, 2022.
41 Rachelle Peterson, Corrupting the College Board: Confucius Institutes and K-12 Education, National Association of Scholars, September 2020, https://www.nas.org/reports/corrupting-the-college-board, accessed January 22, 2022.
42 Email from Aihua Liao to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Re: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 28, 2019.
43 Email from Norwell Coquillard, Executive Director, Washington State China Relations Council, to Jeffrey Riedinger, University of Washington, subject “Webinar on Confucius Institutes with the Washington State China Relations Council,” September 14, 2020.
44 Chen Xi, “New NGO to Operate China's Confucius Institutes, 'disperse misinterpretation.'”
45 See for example, Supplemental Agreement for the Continued Operation of a Confucius Institute at the University at Buffalo, 2021.
46 Agreement on Provision of Chinese Language Teachers Between Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation, China, and Northern State University, USA, July 28, 2020.
47 Yuichiro Kakutani, “China-Backed Confucius Institute Rebrands to Avoid Scrutiny.”
48 Rachelle Peterson, Outsourced to China: Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education, National Association of Scholars, April 2017, https://www.nas.org/reports/outsourced-to-china, accessed April 22, 2022.
49 Letter from Chen Jianguo, Vice President, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, to Ahmad M. Ezzeddine, Associate Vice President Educational Outreach and International Programs, Wayne State University, January 27, 2021.
50 Laura Donovan, “Violations Found in Dickinson State University’s Foreign Student Program,” Bismarck Tribune, February 11, 2012, https://bismarcktribune.com/news/state-and-regional/violations-found-in-dickinson-state-university-s-foreign-student-program/article_2a062be0-5455-11e1-8f8c-0019bb2963f4.html, accessed February 23, 2022.
51 Elizabeth Redden, “No Shortcut,” Inside Higher Ed, July 26, 2021, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/07/26/evaluation-foreign-students-credentials-may-be-getting-short-shrift, accessed February 23, 2022.
52 “Statement on the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago,” University of Chicago, September 25, 2014, https://news.uchicago.edu/story/statement-confucius-institute-university-chicago, accessed February 23, 2022.
53 Elizabeth Redden, “Rejecting Confucius Funding,” Inside Higher Ed, April 29, 2014, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2014/04/29/chicago-faculty-object-their-campuss-confucius-institute#sthash.5p3FFj9V.dpbs, accessed February 23, 2022.
54 Committee A on Academic Freedom and Tenure, “On Partnerships with Foreign Governments: The Case of Confucius Institutes,” American Association of University Professors, June 2014, https://www.aaup.org/report/confucius-institutes, accessed February 23, 2022.
55 Elizabeth Redden, “Another Confucius Institute to Close,” Inside Higher Ed, October 1, 2014, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2014/10/01/another-confucius-institute-close, accessed February 23, 2022.
56 Marshall Sahlins, “China U.”
57 Yali Amit, et al., “Petition to the Committee of the Council,” Inside Higher Ed, April 29, 2014, https://www.insidehighered.com/sites/default/server_files/files/Chicago%20Petition%20re%20Confucius%20Institute%20(2).docx, accessed April 18, 2022.
58 Didi Kirsten Tatlow, “University of Chicago’s Relations With Confucius Institute Sour,” New York Times, September 26, 2014, https://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/09/26/university-of-chicagos-relations-with-confucius-institute-sour/?_r=0, accessed February 23, 2022.
59 “Statement on the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago,” University of Chicago, September 25, 2014.
60 Elizabeth Redden, “Another Confucius Institute to Close.”
61 Announcement from University of Massachusetts Boston Interim Chancellor Katherine Newman and Provost Emily McDermott to “University of Massachusetts Boston Community,” January 17, 2019.
62 Debing Su, “U-M to End Agreement with Confucius Institute Next Year,” The University Record, December 10, 2018, https://record.umich.edu/articles/u-m-end-agreement-confucius-institute-next-year/, accessed February 23, 2022.
63 Letter from James P. Holloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs, Professor of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, to “Madame Jing,” September 20, 2018.
64 Letter from University of Nebraska Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie D. Green to Wang Shuguo, Xi'an Jiaotong University, September 3, 2020.
65 Email from University of Oregon Dean and Vice Provost Dennis Galvan to Ma Jianfei, Hanban, and Qian Xuhong, East China Normal University, undated.
66 “UT Transitions Strategic Focus for its Global Engagement in Asia,” University of Tennessee Knoxville News, January 24, 2019, https://news.utk.edu/2019/01/24/ut-transitions-strategic-focus-for-its-global-engagement-in-asia/, accessed February 24, 2022.
67 Letter from Central Connecticut State University President Zelma R. Toro to Shandong Normal University President Zeng Qingliang, November 6, 2020.
68 Letter from Dennis J. Shields, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, to Yang Wei, Chinese International Education Foundation, and Ma Jianfei, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, February 1, 2021.
69 Letter from Colorado State University Office of the General Counsel (name redacted) to Hunan University (name redacted), January 9, 2021.
70 Letter from University of Texas Dallas President Richard C. Benson to Ma Jianfei and Jing Wei, Hanban, and Wang Baoping, Southeast University, February 28, 2019.
71 Letter from Nasser H. Paydar, Chancellor, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis to Jun Luo, President, Sun Yat-sen University, April 5, 2019.
72 Letter from University of North Carolina Charlotte Interim Chancellor Joan F. Lorden to Ma Jianfei, July 1, 2020.
73 Letter from José D. Padilla, President, Valparaiso University, to “Students, Faculty, Staff and Alumni,” August 30, 2021, available in “Closing The Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University (CIVU),” Valparaiso University, August 30, 2021, https://www.valpo.edu/news/2021/08/30/closing-the-confucius-institute-at-valparaiso-university-civu/, accessed February 23, 2022.
75 Letter from University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh to Ma Jianfei, CLEC, January 16, 2020.
76 Statement from Leslie E. Wong, President, San Francisco State University in “San Francisco State University to close Confucius Institute,” SF State News, May 2, 2019, https://news.sfsu.edu/announcements/san-francisco-state-university-close-confucius-institute, accessed February 23, 2022.
77 Letter from Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Washington, to Deputy Director Ma, September 9, 2019.
78 Letter from University of New Hampshire President James W. Dean Jr. to Chinese International Education Foundation, January 22, 2021.
79 Mike Brake, “Chinese Espionage at Oklahoma University? Sen. James Lankford Wants Transparency,” Grand Lakes News, June 23, 2020, archived at Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20200624071654/https://www.grandlakenews.com/news/20200623/chinese-espionage-at-oklahoma-university-sen-james-lankford-wants-transparency, accessed February 23, 2022.
80 Elizabeth Redden, “Another Confucius Institute Closes,” Inside Higher Ed, January 21, 2020, https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2020/01/21/missouri-closes-confucius-institute-after-running-afoul-visa-rules, accessed February 23, 2022.
81 Letter from University of Missouri Chancellor Alexander N. Cartwright to Ma Jianfei, Hanban, January 15, 2020.
82 “Confucius Institute,” University of Pittsburgh, available on Wayback Machine, archived July 9, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20200709035229/https://www.ucis.pitt.edu/cipitt/, accessed February 24, 2022.
83 Charlotte West, “Pitt Suspends CI Chinese Language Program,” The PIE News, September 17, 2019, https://thepienews.com/news/pitt-suspends-ci-chinese-language-program/, accessed February 24, 2022.
84 Statement from Temple University Spokesman Stephen Orbanck, cited in Linda Stein, “Temple Quietly Closes Communist China-Linked Program, as Criticism of CCP Rises,” Delaware Valley Journal, July 15, 2021, https://delawarevalleyjournal.com/temple-quietly-closes-communist-china-linked-program-as-criticism-of-ccp-rises/, accessed February 24, 2022.
85 Letter from University of Texas San Antonio Vice Provost Lisa Montoya to Wang Jiaqiong, University of International Business and Economics, February 25, 2019.
86 Letter from W. Randolph Woodson, Chancellor, North Carolina State University, to Confucius Institute Headquarters, October 22, 2018.
87 Letter from Richard C. Benson, President, University of Texas Dallas, to Ma Jianfei and Jing Wei, Hanban, and Wang Baoping, Southeast University, February 28, 2019.
88 Letter from Cathy Sandeen, Chancellor, University of Alaska Anchorage, to Mr. Jiangwei Liu, Hanban, July 10, 2019.
89 Josh Axelrod, “University Of Alaska Readies For Budget Slash: 'We May Likely Never Recover',” NPR, July 3, 2019, https://www.npr.org/2019/07/03/738569508/university-of-alaska-readies-for-budget-slash-we-may-likely-never-recover, accessed February 23, 2022.
90 Letter from J. Bruce Harreld, President, University of Iowa to Jing Wei, Hanban, August 3, 2018.
91 Letter from Martha D. Saunders, President, University of West Florida to Jing Wei, Hanban, December 8, 2017.
92 Letter from Rolando Montoya, Interim President, Miami Dade College to Ma Jianfei, Hanban, October 2, 2019.
93 Letter from Roger Brindley, Vice President, University of South Florida System to Ma Jianfei, Hanban, September 7, 2018.
94 Letter from Glenn Cummings, President, University of Southern Maine, and Jeannine Diddle Uzzi, Provost and Executive Vice President, University of Southern Maine, to Yang Wei, Chinese International Education Foundation, and Ma Jianfei, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, March 12, 2021.
95 Letter from (name redacted), Office of the General Counsel, Colorado State University, to (name redacted), Hunan University, January 9, 2021.
96 Letter from Zulma Torro, President, Central Connecticut State University to Hao Pan, CLEC, November 6, 2020.
97 Email from Ricardo Vazquez, director of media relations, UCLA, to Flora Yan, NAS, February 2, 2021.
98 Letter from Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Washington, to Deputy Director Ma, September 9, 2019.
99 Letter from Timothy C. Caboni, President, Western Kentucky University, to Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, June 14, 2019.
100 Letter from Adela de la Torre, President, San Diego State University, to Dr. Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive of Hanban, June 14, 2019.
101 Letter from Dennis J. Shields, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin Platteville to Yang Wei, Chinese International Education Foundation, and Ma Jianfei, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, February 1, 2021.
103 Letter from Roger Brindley, Vice President, University of South Florida System to Ma Jianfei, Hanban, September 7, 2018.
104 Email from Mark Cork, Associate Vice President, Marketing & Communications, Northwest Nazarene University, to Rachelle Peterson, NAS, December 9, 2021.
105 Jackie Wang, “Texas A&M System Cuts Ties with China's Confucius Institute After Congressmen's Concern Over Spying,” Dallas Morning News, April 5, 2018, https://www.dallasnews.com/news/higher-education/2018/04/05/congressmen-urge-ut-dallas-texas-universities-cut-ties-chinas-confucius-institute, accessed February 26, 2022.
106 Letter from Michael K. Young, President, Texas A&M University, to Yu Zhigang, President, Ocean University of China, April 13, 2018.
107 Elizabeth Redden, “North Florida Will Close Confucius Institute,” Inside Higher Ed, August 16, 2018, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2018/08/16/north-florida-will-close-confucius-institute, accessed April 19, 2022.
108 Email from Ronald H. Matson, Senior Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kennesaw State University, to “DGA Colleagues,” July 29, 2019.
109 “Statement on the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago,” UChicago News.
110 Letter from Charles S. Taber, Provost and Executive Vice President, Kansas State University, to Guo Jiaoyang, Division Director for Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Hanban, December 11, 2018.
111 Letter from Grant Chapman, Associate Provost for International Programs, Kansas State University, to Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters (HANBAN), September 12, 2019.
112 Letter from Charles S. Taber, Provost and Executive Vice President, Kansas State University, to Guo Jiaoyang, Division Director for Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Hanban, February 5, 2020.
113 Shannon La Neve, Director of Humanities, Curriculum and Instruction Division, Clark County School District, via phone to Flora Yan, NAS, January 27, 2021.
114 Letter from Brenda Larsen-Mitchell, Chief Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment Officer, Clark County School District, to Miao Jiefang, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Hanban/Confucius Institute Headquarters, June 9, 2020.
115 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Executive Deputy Director-General, Hanban, to David M. Dooley, President, University of Rhode Island, January 18, 2019.
116 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Rolando Montoya, Miami Dade College, September 6, 2019.
117 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Executive Deputy Director-General, Hanban, to David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida, August 15, 2018.
118 Letter from You Xuqun, President, Shaanxi Normal University, to David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida, August 15, 2018.
119 Letter from David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida, to You Xuqun, President, Shaanxi Normal University, August 27, 2018.
120 Letter from You Xuqun, President, Shaanxi Normal University, to David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida, September 14, 2018.
121 Letter from Yu Zhigang, President, Ocean University, to Michael Young, President, Texas A&M University, April, 6, 2018.
122 Letter from (name redacted), Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Gary S. May, Chancellor, University of California Davis, April 30, 2020.
123 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Alexander N. Cartwright, Chancellor, University of Missouri, January 19, 2020.
124 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Timothy C. Caboni, President and Deborah Wilkins, General Counsel, Western Kentucky University, June 12, 2019.
125 For example, Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Augustine Agho, Provost, Old Dominion University, March 16, 2020.
126 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Kimberly Ballard Washington, Interim President, Savannah State University, July 20, 2020.
127 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Scott Green, President, University of Idaho, May 26, 2021.
128 Letter from Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, to Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, February 5, 2021.
129 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Maurie McInnis, President, Stony Brook University, February 10, 2021.
130 Letter from Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, to Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, February 5, 2021.
131 Letter from Chen Jianguo, Vice President, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, to Ahmad M. Ezzeddine, Associate Vice President Educational Outreach and International Programs, Wayne State University, January 27, 2021.
132 Letter from Jinlin Li, President, South-Central University for Nationalities, to Dennis J. Shields, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin Platteville, February 23, 2021.
133 Letter from Wang Jiaqiong, President, University of International Business and Economics, to Taylor Eighmy, President, University of Texas San Antonio, February 25, 2019.
134 Letter from Du Peng Vice President, Renmin University, to Emily McDermott, Provost and Vice Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston, February 28, 2019.
135 Letter from Yang Canming, President, and Yao Li, Vice President, Zhongnan University of Economics and Law, to Maurie Mcinnis, President, Stony Brook University, February 9, 2021.
136 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Taylor Eighmy, President, University of Texas San Antonio, March 5, 2019.
137 Letter from You Xuqun, President, Shaanxi Normal University, to David Szymanski, President, University of North Florida, August 15, 2018.
138 Letter from Jianguang Xu, President, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, to Brooks A. Keel, President, Augusta University, October 27, 2018.
139 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Executive Deputy Director-General, Hanban, to Randy Woodson, President, North Carolina State University, November 9, 2018.
140 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Executive Deputy Director-General, Hanban, to David M. Dooley, President, University of Rhode Island, January 18, 2019.
141 See Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation to Samuel L. Stanley Jr., President, Michigan State University, April 16, 2021.
142 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Maurie McInnis, President, Stony Brook University, February 10, 2021.
143 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Harlan Sands, President, Cleveland State University, March 12, 2021.
144 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to William F. Tate IV, Executive Vice President and Provost, University of South Carolina, February 3, 2021.
145 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Maurie McInnis, President, Stony Brook University, February 10, 2021.
146 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Alexander N. Cartwright, Chancellor, University of Missouri, January 19, 2020.
147 Letter from Alexander N. Cartwright, Chancellor, University of Missouri, to Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, February 24, 2020.
148 Letter from Wang Baoping, Executive Vice President, Southeast University, to Richard C. Benson, President, University of Texas Dallas, March 15, 2019.
149 Philip Roth, “University Establishes New Center for Asian Studies,” The University of Texas at Dallas News Center, August 27, 2019, https://news.utdallas.edu/campus-community/center-for-asian-studies-2019/, accessed February 28, 2022.
150 Letter from Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, to Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, February 5, 2021.
151 Email from Zhou Zhichang, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Confucius Institute Headquarters to Laura E. Lyons, Associate Vice Chancellor, University of Hawaii Manoa, June 4, 2019.
152 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Richard Benson, President, University of Texas Dallas, March 14, 2019.
153 Agreement on Provision of Chinese Language Teachers Between Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation, China, and Northern State University, USA, July 28, 2020.
154 Program Specific Agreement on Cooperation in Chinese Language and Culture Programming Between Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, and Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia by and on Behalf of Georgia State University Atlanta, United States of America, July 2020.
155 Program Specific Agreement on Cooperation in Chinese Language and Culture Programming Between Beijing Language and Culture University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, and Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia by and on Behalf of Georgia State University Atlanta, United States of America, March 2021.
156 Email from Wolfgang Schlör, Associate Provost for International Initiatives, Georgia State University, to undisclosed recipients, August 19, 2020.
157 “W&M-BNU Collaborative Partnership,” College of William and Mary, https://www.wm.edu/offices/revescenter/globalengagement/wmbnu/index.php, accessed February 28, 2022.
158 Agreement on Cooperation of Chinese Language and Culture Programming between Beijing Language and Culture University and the Board of Trustees of Western Michigan University, January 2021.
159 “Ying Zeng,” Light Center for Chinese Studies, Western Michigan University, https://wmich.edu/chinesestudiescenter/directory/zeng, accessed February 28, 2022.
160 Letter from Samuel L. Stanley Jr., President, Michigan State University, to Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation and Jianfei Ma, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, February 18, 2021.
161 General International Agreement for Cooperation Between Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA, and The Open University of China, Beijing China, 2021.
163 “Center for Theatre Arts Collaboration,” Binghamton University, https://www.binghamton.edu/centers/ctac/aboutus.html, accessed February 28, 2022.
165 Announcement from Katherine Newman, Interim Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Boston and Emily McDermott, Provost, University of Massachusetts Boston to “University of Massachusetts Boston Community” January 17, 2019.
166 Memorandum of Understanding between the University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, USA,
and Renmin University of China, Beijing, China, January 2019.
167 Statement from Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs James Holloway in Debing Su, “U-M to End Agreement with Confucius Institute Next Year.”
168 Letter from James P. Holloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor, Vice Provost for Global Engagement and Interdisciplinary Academic Affairs, Professor of Nuclear Engineering & Radiological Sciences, University of Michigan, to “Madame Jing,” September 20, 2018.
169 Letter from Martin A. Philbert, Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Michigan, to “Madame Jing,” Hanban, October 16, 2018.
170 “University of Michigan,” in the spreadsheet available for download at “College Foreign Gift and Contract Report,” College Foreign Gift Reporting, Department of Education, https://sites.ed.gov/foreigngifts/, accessed March 3, 2022.
171 Memorandum of Understanding between San Francisco State University, U.S.A., and Beijing Normal University, P.R. China, 2005.
172 Email from Jiaxin Xie, Division of International Education, San Francisco State University to Tian Laoshi, Hanban, July 23, 2019.
173 Memorandum of Agreement, Ocean University of China, Qingdao, China, and Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas, United States of America, April 2006.
174 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters and Texas A&M University, USA, for the Establishment of the Confucius Institute at Texas A&M University, October 2006.
175 Agreement for Educational and Scientific Cooperation between the University of Oklahoma and Beijing Normal University, August 23, 2006.
176 Renewal of Agreement Between Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and University of Idaho in USA on Co-Development of Confucius Institute at University of Idaho, Article 11, signed 2018.
177 General Agreement for Collaboration by and between Qingdao University and the University of South Florida, July 2017.
178 “Master of Science in Education (Teaching),” University of Wisconsin Platteville, Master of Science in Education < University of Wisconsin-Platteville (uwplatt.edu), accessed February 28, 2022.
179 Letter from Dennis J. Shields, Chancellor, University of Wisconsin-Platteville, to Yang Wei, Chinese International Education Foundation, and Ma Jianfei, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, February 1, 2021.
180 Letter from Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland to Ma Jianfei, CLEC, January 16, 2020.
181 Email from 盛维国 (Sheng Weiguo) to Xuejun Yu, subject “Letter of Entrustment,” January 21, 2020.
182 Letter from Liesl Folks, Provost, and Brent White, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Arizona, to Wei Jing, Deputy Director-General, Hanban, January 31, 2020.
183 Letter from Wei Jing, Deputy Director-General, Hanban, to Liesl Folks, Provost, and Brent White, Vice Provost, University of Arizona, February 4, 2020.
184 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, to Harlan Sands, President, Cleveland State University, March 12, 2021.
185 Email from Louise Deng, Hanban, to John Marshall, Kennesaw State University, subject “[EXTERNAL] Re: Follow up for CI closing process, about the bank account,” May 11, 2020.
186 Email from Sheb True to Zhaoxi Meng, October 17, 2019.
187 Letter from John D. Marshall, Jr. Associate Legal Counsel, Kennesaw State University, to Zhaoxi Meng, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Confucius Institute Headquarters, January 14, 2020.
188 Email from Bonnie Troiano to Jacqueline Stephens and Maggie Witherington, subject “CI Closeout Memo Revised 10.21.20,” October 21, 2020.
189 Memo from Brooks A. Keel, President, Augusta University, to Zhaozi Meng, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Confucius Institute Headquarters, Subject “Augusta University (AU) Confucius Institute Account Balance,” October 22, 2020.
190 Letter from Jianguang Xu, President, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, to Brooks A. Keel, President, Augusta University, October 27, 2018.
191 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Mark Searle, Executive Vice President and Provost, Arizona State University, May 7, 2019.
192 Email from 盛维国 (Sheng Weiguo) to Xuejun Yu, subject “Letter of Entrustment,” January 21, 2020.
193 Letter from M. David Rudd, President, University of Memphis, to Xu Lin, Chief Executive of Confucius Headquarters & Director General of Hanban Confucius Institute Headquarters, Subject: Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute Termination Agreement, August 24, 2015.
194 Agreement Between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and the University of Maryland, College Park, on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute, 2015.
196 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Wallace D. Loh, President, University of Maryland, January 19, 2020.
197 Letter from Donna Wiseman, University of Maryland, to Guo Jiaoyang, Director, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Confucius Institute Headquarters, February 20, 2020.
198 Agreement Between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and the University of Hawaii at Manoa, USA, on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute, 2015.
199 Letter from Zhou Zhichang Program Officer, Division of American and Oceanian Confucius Institutes, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Laura E. Lyons, Vice Chancellor, University of Hawaii, July 9, 2019.
201 Agreement Between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and United States, Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute, 2014.
202 Letter from Deborah T. Wilkins, General Counsel, Western Kentucky University, to Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, May 31, 2019.
204 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters , to Timothy C. Caboni, President and Deborah Wilkins, General Counsel, Western Kentucky University, June 12, 2019.
205 Michael Crimmins, “WKU in Litigation Over Closure of Confucius Institute,” College Heights Herald, February 11, 2022. https://wkuherald.com/63777/news/wku-in-litigation-over-closure-of-confucius-institute/. Accessed February 15, 2022.
206 Holli Keaton, “Confucius Institute Solidifies Partnership,” The Messenger, November 23, 2008, https://www.troymessenger.com/2008/11/23/confucius-institute-solidfies-partnership/, accessed April 20, 2022.
207 Email from Jack Hawkins, Chancellor, Troy University, to Jim Purcell, Executive Director, Alabama Commission on Higher Education, subject “Confucius Institute,” May 25, 2020.
208 Renewal of Agreement Between Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and Troy University on Co-Development of Confucius Institute at Troy University, 2018.
209 Letter from (name redacted), Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Gary S. May, Chancellor, University of California Davis, April 30, 2020.
211 Letter from Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, to Harvey Stenger, President, Binghamton University, April 2, 2021.
212 Letter from Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, to Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, February 5, 2021.
213 Letter from Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, to Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation; Xiong Sidong, President, Soochow University; Zhang Xiaohong, Vice President, Soochow University; Chinese Consulate in SF; January 27, 2021.
214 “List for CI Closing Procedure_final_20190927.pdf,” attached to email from Binbin DeVillar to Sheb True, subject “Additional Response to Hanban,” October 10, 2019.
215 Letter from Ma Jianfei, Deputy Chief Executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Adela de la Torre, President, San Diego State University, July 8, 2019.
216 “New Chinese, Global Education Center Launched at SDSU,” News Center, San Diego State University, August 7, 2019, https://newscenter.sdsu.edu/sdsu_newscenter/news_story.aspx?sid=77714, accessed February 17, 2022.
217 Email from Ken Jin to Ron Matson and Binbin DeVillar, subject “Fw: Chinese Language Programs at Confucius Institute at KSU,” July 24, 2019.
219 Email from Jiaxin Xie to Yenbo Wu, subject “FW: 孔院项目经费退款 [Refund of Confucius Institute Project Funding],” August 19, 2019.
220 Email from Wolfgang Schlör to Kimberly Crenshaw, subject “Update on the Confucius Institute,” August 19, 2020.
221 Letter from Douglas A. Girod, Chancellor, University of Kansas, to Zhao Lingyun, President Central China Normal University, August 21, 2019
222 Letter from University of Nebraska Lincoln Chancellor Ronnie D. Green to Wang Shuguo, Xi'an Jiaotong University, September 3, 2020.
224 “Current International Agreements,” University of Nebraska Lincoln, April 2020, https://globalnebraska.unl.edu/current-international-agreements, accessed February 16, 2022.
225 Email from Isis Bataluna to Zheng Zhai, subject “Re: visa case for two graduate students,” May 17, 2019.
226 Letter from Stephen Percy, President, Portland State University, to Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation, et al., January 27, 2021.
228 Email from Ron Matson to Michael Rothlisberger, et al., subject “RE: Confucius Institute??” October 1, 2019.
229 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin, October 10, 2021.
230 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin.
233 Letter from Samuel L. Stanley Jr., President, Michigan State University, to Yang Wei, President, Chinese International Education Foundation and Jianfei Ma, Director General, Center for Language Education and Cooperation, February 18, 2021.
234 General International Agreement for Academic Cooperation Between Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, U.S.A. and the Open University of China, Beijing, China, May 2021.
235 Articles of Incorporation for Greater Miami Asian Coalition for Business, Florida Secretary of State, filed October 14, 2019, https://search.sunbiz.org/Inquiry/CorporationSearch/ConvertTiffToPDF?storagePath=COR%5C2019%5C1014%5C00782460.tif&documentNumber=N19000010869, accessed March 4, 2022.
236 “About Us,” North American Economic Herald, https://naehusa.com/about/, accessed March 4, 2022.
237 Email from 盛维国 (Sheng Weiguo) to Xuejun Yu, subject “Letter of Entrustment,” January 21, 2020.
238 “Language Program,” Greater Miami Asian Business Alliance.
242 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the University of Washington and the Seattle Public Schools on the Establishment of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, November 12, 2009.
243 Agreement between the Seattle Public Schools, the University of Washington, and the Alliance for Education For the Operation of Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, July 1, 2019.
244 Agreement Between the Seattle Public Schools, Pacific Lutheran University, and the Alliance for Education for the Operation of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, 2020, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/587/2021/04/1-ciwa_operating_agreement_202003-sps-sps-plu-afe-signed.pdf, accessed February 17, 2022.
245 “Give,” US-China Concern Committee, archived on the Wayback Machine, November 30, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20201130045939/https://www.concerncommittee.org/give, accessed April 19, 2022.
246 Email from Kenneth R. Chester Jr., Founding Committee Member, US-China Common Concern Committee, to “Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University,” May 20, 2020.
247 Email from Kenneth R. Chester Jr., Founding Committee Member, US-China Common Concern Committee, to “Confucius Institute at New Mexico State University,” May 20, 2020.
248 “U.S.-China Bilateral Cooperation on Key Common Goals,” archived on the Wayback Machine, September 1, 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20200901022043/https://zh.concerncommittee.org/, accessed April 19, 2022.
249 “Washington State Enjoys Unique Relationship with China,” NPR, April 19, 2006, https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5350350, accessed January 22, 2022.
250 Letter to Governor Christine Gregoire from Adam L. Ross, Co-Chair, Chinese Language Core Team and Chinese Instructor, Lakeside School, May 13, 2007.
251 Email from Brent Heinemann to Steve Van Luven, subject “RE: Meeting request re:Chinese language and educational programs,” December 15, 2008.
252 Email from Stephen Hanson to Randi Schaff, Karen Kodama, Diane Y. Adachi, William Nicholson, subject “RE: initial fund,” September 12, 2009.
253 “Gov. Gregoire Welcomes New State Confucius Institute”, Governor Chris Gregoire, April 26, 2010, https://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov/GovernorGregoire/news/news-view.asp?pressRelease=1485&newsType=1, accessed February 28, 2022.
254 “Expanding Chinese Language Capacity,” Report of the 2006 Washington State International Education Leadership Summit, 2006, https://www.internationaledwa.org/summit/2006/2006_Summit_Report.pdf, accessed January 22, 2022.
256 Expanding Chinese Language Capacity in the United States, Asia Society, June 2005, (https://asiasociety.org/files/expandingchinese.pdf) accessed January 22, 2022.
257 Letter to Governor Christine Gregoire from Adam L. Ross, Co-Chair, Chinese Language Core Team and Chinese Instructor, Lakeside School, May 13, 2007.
258 Letter from Laurie Dolan, Executive Policy Director, Governor Christine Gregoire, to Gao Zhansheng, Chinese Consulate General in San Francisco, October 31, 2008.
259 Email from Judy Hartmann to Alice Vermillion, Subject “Material for Gov Memo,” May 19, 2006.
260 Email from R. Scott Heinlein, Deputy Director, Washington State China Relations Council, to Dana Richardson, et al., subject “update and meeting on December 20,” December 8, 2006.
262 Email from R. Scott Heinlein, Deputy Director, Washington State China Relations Council, to Dana Richardson, Brent Heinemann, Robert Connolly, Seal Sobania, Laurie Dolan, Gary Locke, Sam Kaplan, Michele Anciaux Aoki, David B. Woodward, Mary Tan, Terry Bouck, Caleb Perkins, and Judy Hartmann, subject “update and meeting on December 20,” December 8, 2006.
263 Email from Dana Richardson to Gary Locke, subject “RE update and meeting on December 20,” December 12, 2006.
264 Email from Randi Schaff to Leslie Goldstein, subject “UW Pres and Gov Meeting,” July 27, 2011.
265 Email from Ellen Landino, Executive Assistant to Governor Chris Gregoire, to Randi Schaff, subject “Letter for signature - invite to Sec. Locke,” March 2, 2010.
266 Randi Schaff, “Confucius Institute Activity Summary as of 8-18-08.”
267 Email from Ana M. Cauce to Phyllis Wise, et al., subject “RE Confucious [sic] Institute,” August 26, 2008.
268 Email from Randy Hodgins to Mark A. Emmert, et al., subject “Confucious [sic] Institute,” August 26, 2008.
269 “Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” Memo from Resat Kasaba, director of the Jackson School of International Studies, to Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, August 20, 2013.
270 Email from Stephen E. Hanson, Vice Provost of Global Affairs, to Michele Aoki, et al., subject “RE: Seattle Schools Confucius Institute Meeting Notes (1/12/2008),” January 25, 2009.
271 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Aihua Liao, subject “RE: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 27, 2019.
272 Randi Schaff, “Confucius Institute Activity Summary as of 8-18-08.”
273 Randi Schaff, “Confucius Institute Activity Summary as of 8-18-08.”
274 “Feasibility Study for a University of Washington Confucius Institute,” 2008.
275 Email from Michael Shapiro to Randi Schaff, subject “Confucius Institute,” December 2, 2008.
276 Email from Stephen E. Hanson, Vice Provost of Global Affairs, to Michele Aoki, Carolyn A. Larson, Paul K. Aoki, Randi Schaff, subject “RE: Seattle Schools Confucius Institute Meeting Notes (1/12/2008),” January 25, 2009.
277 “Governor’s Informational Brief,” Memo from Randi Schaff to Governor Gregoire, subject “Establishing a Confucius Institute,” March 11, 2009.
279 “Governor’s Decision Document,” Memo from Randi Schaff to Governor Gregoire, subject Confucius Institute - Agreement with China,” July 15, 2009.
280 Email from Randi Schaff to Marty Loesch and Robin Arnold-Williams, subject “FW: Your review? — FW: Notes from the Gov.,” July 27, 2009.
281 Email from Hu Zhiping, Deputy Director-General, Deputy Chief Executive, Hanban to Stephen Hanson, subject from Hanban, an agreement draft (as attached) for the Confucius Institute Initiative of Washington State,” July 24, 2009.
282 Email from Randi Schaff to Leslie Goldstein, subject “UW Pres and Gov Meeting,” July 27, 2011.
284 Email from Randi Schaff to Chris Alejano and Judy Hartmann, subject “RE: Confucius Institute,” December 2, 2008.
285 Bo Deng, “The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington: An Introduction”, East & West, 2012, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/25723618.2012.12015529, accessed January 20, 2022.
286 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the University of Washington and the Seattle Public Schools on the Establishment of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, November 12, 2009.
287 Memorandum of Understanding for Cultural and Educational Cooperation between the State of Washington, the University of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), April 26, 2010
288 Email from Stephen Hanson to Randi Schaff, et al., subject “RE: initial fund,” September 12, 2009.
289 Memorandum of Understanding for Cultural and Educational Cooperation Between the State of Washington, the University of Washington, Seattle Public Schools, and the Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), 2010.
290 Patrick Robinson, “SLIDESHOW: Confucius Institute Opening Ceremony sees visit by Chinese dignitaries,” Westside Seattle, April 26, 2010, https://www.westsideseattle.com/robinson-papers/2010/04/26/slideshow-confucius-institute-opening-ceremony-sees-visit-chinese, accessed January 19, 2022.
293 “Global Education in Washington State,” Global Washington, undated, https://globalwa.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/education_paper.pdf, accessed January 19, 2022.
294 “Memorandum on Further Strengthening Sister Province/State Relationship Between the State of Washington of the United States of America and Sichuan Province of the People’s Republic of China,” November 11, 2014, https://www.governor.wa.gov/sites/default/files/documents/StrengtheningSisterStateRelationshipSichuan.pdf, accessed January 25, 2022.
295 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters (Hanban), the University of Washington and the Seattle Public Schools on the Establishment of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, November 12, 2009.
296 Agreement between the Seattle Public Schools, the University of Washington, and the Alliance for Education For the Operation of Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, July 1, 2019.
297 Email from Aihua Liao to Geoffrey Foy, et al., subject “FW: Update regarding CIWA agreement,” November 19, 2019.
298 Application Plan for Establishing a Confucius Institute in the State of Washington, United States of America, April 30, 2009.
299 Application Plan for Establishing a Confucius Institute in the State of Washington, United States of America, April 30, 2009.
300 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger, June 10, 2021.
301 Randi Schaff, “Confucius Institute Activity Summary as of 8-18-08.”
302 Kristi Heim, “State and China cement ties,” The Seattle Times, May 12, 2007, https://www.seattletimes.com/business/state-and-china-cement-ties/, accessed January 19, 2022.
303 Bo Deng, “The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington: An Introduction.”
304 “CHIME Advisory Board,”Chinese Microsoft Employees, undated, http://www.microsoftchime.org/chime-advisory-board/, accessed January 20, 2022.
306 Tuyinzhi Zhongzhaoshang Dishierjie “Huachuanghui” liuyue ershibari wuhan kaimu, 突引智重招商 第十二届”华创会”6月28日武汉开幕, archived on the Wayback Machine, December 29, 2021, https://web.archive.org/web/20211229165758/http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2017zt/hubenrongruyidaiyilupengyouquan/teshegongzuosanyaosilu/huachuanghui/201705/t20170527_1000149.shtml, accessed April 20, 2022.
308 Shen Yushi, The College of Information, Mechanical and Electrical Engineering, SHNU, http://xxjd.shnu.edu.cn/69/29/c28317a747817/page.htm, accessed January 12, 2022.
310 Bob Roseth, “Confucius Institute of Washington Opens to Support Chinese Language, Culture,” UW News, April 29, 2010, https://www.washington.edu/news/2010/04/29/confucius-institute-of-washington-opens-to-support-chinese-language-culture/, accessed January 22, 2022.
311 “Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” Memo from Resat Kasaba.
315 Email from William G. Boltz to Robert C. Stacey, subject “RE: Confucius Institute Support: SHORT DEADLINE JULY 15,” July 12, 2011.
316 Email from Gary Hamilton to Kristi Roundtree, et al., subject “Memo to the CI Partner,” October 21, 2014.
318 Letter from Chemay Shola, President, and Bella Alexander, Vice President, Students for a Free Tibet - UW Chapter, to Constance W. Rice and Members of the University of Washington Board of Regents, subject “Expiration of the University of Washington’s Confucius Institute Contract,” April 18, 2019.
319 Email from Robert C. Stacey to Brian Reed, subject “RE:2019 “Chinese Bridge” Higher Education Administrators China Study Trip,” June 5, 2019.
320 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
321 Letter from Michael K. Young, President, University of Washington, to Xu Lin, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, May 27, 2014.
322 Letter from Larry Nyland, Superintendent, Seattle Public Schools, to Xu Lin, Director-General of Hanban and Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, September 24, 2014.
323 “Draft Summary for UW Projects from 2011,” Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.
324 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ana Mari Cauce, subject “RE: flagship,” July 12, 2019.
325 For more on Eastern Washington University, see email from David Buri to Steven Becker, subject “FW: Letters of Support from Olympia,” March 22, 2010.
326 Karen Kodama, “Details on Education Effort in Mayor’s Delegation to Chongqing,” Mayor Mike McGinn, March 15, http://mayormcginn.seattle.gov/details-on-education-effort-in-mayors-delegation-to-chongqing/, accessed January 19, 2022.
327 Bo Deng, “The Confucius Institute of the State of Washington: An Introduction.”
328 “Sichuan daxue ronghuo kongzi xueyuan xianjin zhongfang jigou chenghao” 四川外国语大学教师王雯秋喜获“全球孔子学院先进个人,” Sina.
329 Jeffrey Riedinger, “The UW and the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” undated.
330 “Sichuan daxue ronghuo kongzi xueyuan xianjin zhongfang jigou chenghao” 四川外国语大学教师王雯秋喜获“全球孔子学院先进个人,” Sina, December 7, 2018, (https://news.sina.com.cn/o/2018-12-07/doc-ihmutuec6942720.shtml) accessed January 19, 2022.
331 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
332 “China Partnership Project Begins,” UW School of Medicine Online New, February 2, 2001, https://depts.washington.edu/mednews/vol5/no05/cpp.html, accessed January 2, 2022.
333 Catherine O’Donnell, “UW Students Unharmed in China Earthquake but Administration Considered Evacuation,” UW News, May 15, 2008, https://www.washington.edu/news/2008/05/15/uw-students-unharmed-in-china-earthquake-but-administration-considered-evacuation/, accessed January 2, 2022.
334 “Sichuan University Summer Intensive Language Exchange,” UW Asian Languages and Literature, undated, https://asian.washington.edu/study-abroad/sichuan-university-summer-intensive-language-exchange, accessed January 2, 2022.
335 “中美专家组成实验室研究九寨沟可持续发展问题” [Chinese and American experts form a laboratory to study the sustainable development of Jiuzhaigou], 搜狐 Sohu, April 12, 2007, https://business.sohu.com/20070412/n249391801.shtml, accessed January 13, 2022.
336 “四川大学5所孔子学院联席” [Sichuan University’s five Confucius Institutes], Sina, http://news.sina.com.cn/o/2017-08-08/doc-ifyitayr9877705.shtml, accessed January 15, 2022.
337 “Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” Memo from Resat Kasaba, director of the Jackson School for International Studies, to Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, August 20, 2013.
338 Email from Robert Stacey to Michael Shapiro, subject “re: Sichuan (again),” August 18, 2008.
340 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
341 Bob Roseth, “University of Washington to Open China Office in Beijing,” UW News, August 22, 2007, https://www.washington.edu/news/2007/08/22/university-of-washington-to-open-china-office-in-beijing/ accessed January 7, 2022.
343 “Chinese President Presents Gift to Global Innovation Exchange,” UW News, September 23, 2015, https://www.washington.edu/news/2015/09/23/chinese-president-presents-gift-to-global-innovation-exchange/, accessed January 7, 2022.
346 Ana Mari Cauce and Chris Gregoire, “From Seattle to China, We’re Leading the Future of Innovation,” The Seattle Times, November 7, 2015, https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/from-seattle-to-china-were-leading-the-future-of-innovation/, accessed January 22, 2022.
347 “UW and Tsinghua Deepen Partnership with New GIX Degree Agreement,” UW Office of Global Affairs, November 9, 2015, https://www.washington.edu/globalaffairs/2015/11/09/uw-and-tsinghua-deepen-partnership-with-new-gix-degree-agreement/, accessed January 7, 2022.
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349 Michael R. Pompeo,”The Chinese Communist Party on the American Campus,” US Department of State, December 9, 2020, https://2017-2021.state.gov/the-chinese-communist-party-on-the-american-campus/index.html, accessed January 22, 2022.
350 “UW Statement in Response to Claim by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo,” UW News, December 9, 2020, https://www.washington.edu/news/2020/12/09/uw-statement-in-response-to-claim-by-u-s-secretary-of-state-mike-pompeo/, accessed April 22, 2022
352 Email from Paul S. Atkins to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “flagship,” May 30, 2019.
353 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Paul S. Atkins, subject “RE: flagship,” May 30, 2019.
354 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ana Mari Cauce, subject “RE: flagship,” July 12, 2019.
355 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ana Mari Cauce and Mark Richards, subject “FW: AMENDMENT: The Language Flagship Chinese 2020-2024 RFP,” September 13, 2019.
356 Michael R. Pompeo, “The Chinese Communist Party on the American Campus.”
357 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Susan A. Larrance and Ursula E. Owen, subject “visa transition,” December 11, 2019.
358 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Aihua Liao, et al., subject “FW: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 23, 2019.
359 Email from Aihua Liao to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “RE: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 26, 2019.
360 Letter from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ma Jianfei, September 9, 2019.
362 Letter from Ma Jianfei, deputy chief executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Jeffrey Riedinger, September 18, 2019.
363 Email from Aihua Liao to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Re: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 28, 2019.
364 Letter from Ma Jianfei, deputy chief executive, Confucius Institute Headquarters, to Jeffrey Riedinger, September 18, 2019.
365 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ana Mari Cauce, subject “RE: flagship,” July 12, 2019.
366 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
367 Email from Janet Xing to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Re: CIWA update,” September 13, 2019.
368 Email from Brian Burton to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “RE: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 23, 2019
369 Email from Michele A. Aoki to Jeffrey Riedinger, et al., subject “RE: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 24, 2019.
370 Email from Dongmei Huang to Michele A. Aoki, et al., subject “RE: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 24, 2019.
371 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Aihua Liao, et al., , subject “FW: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 23, 2019.
372 Email from Joanna Gregson to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “confirming PLU’s interest in CIWA,” September 19, 2019.
373 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Randy Hodgins, subject “Re: Confucius Institute,” August 27, 2019.
374 Email from R. Scott Heinlein, Deputy Director, Washington State China Relations Council, to Dana Richardson, et al., subject “update and meeting on December 20,” December 8, 2006.
375 Email from Aihua Liao to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Re: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 28, 2019.
377 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
378 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Ana M. Cauce and Mark Richards, subject “FW: PLU President’s Letter to Hanban - request for funding,” January 10, 2020.
379 Email from Hao Pan to Deng Bo, subject “ltr: Confucius Institute_CIWA, 01-10-2020,” January 14, 2020.
380 Chinese International Education Foundation Certificate of Authorization, Pacific Lutheran University, November 12, 2020, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/587/2021/04/1-certificate-of-authorization%E8%BD%AC%E9%9A%B6%E6%8E%88%E6%9D%83%E4%B9%A6.pdf, accessed January 25, 2022.
381 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Brian Burton, et al., subject “Re: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 23, 2019.
382 “CIWA,” International Education Washington, archived on Wayback Machine, July 9, 2020, https://web.archive.org/web/20200709213550/https://www.internationaledwa.org/ciwa/, accessed January 20, 2022.
383 “10th Anniversary Celebration,” Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, October 14, 2021, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/10th-anniversary-celebration/#wednesday-oct-14, accessed January 11, 2022.
384 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters, Pacific Lutheran University, and the Seattle Public Schools on the Establishment and Continuation of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, May 2020, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/587/2021/04/1-hanban-plu-sps-agreement-2020-02-27-signed.pdf, accessed January 25, 2022.
385 Chinese International Education Foundation Certificate of Authorization, Pacific Lutheran University.
386 Agreement Between the Seattle Public Schools, Pacific Lutheran University, and the Alliance for Education for the Operation of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and Confucius Institute Education Center in the State of Washington, 2020, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/587/2021/04/1-ciwa_operating_agreement_202003-sps-sps-plu-afe-signed.pdf, accessed February 17, 2022.
387 “10th Anniversary Celebration,” Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University.
388 Email from Gary Hamilton to Kristi Roundtree, et al., subject “Memo to the CI Partner,” October 21, 2014.
389 “10th Anniversary Celebration,” Confucius Institute of the State of Washington.
392 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Sarah M. Castro, subject “Daily Caller story,” February 10, 2021.
393 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
394 Email from Paul Manfredit to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “RE: a quick note about CIWA,” July 27, 2020.
395 Email from Paul Manfredi to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “CIWA in the crosshairs again,” November 20, 2020.
397 Email from Paul Manfredi to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “CIWA update,” March 22, 2021.
398 Email from Paul Manfredi to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “letter from John Moran,” February 23, 2021.
399 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Paul Manfredi, subject “RE: CIWA in the crosshairs again,” November 25, 2020.
400 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Paul Manfredi, subject “RE: letter from John Moran,” February 23, 2021.
401 Email from Paul Manfredit to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Fwd: Invitation from the Washington State China Relations Council,” August 3, 2020.
402 Email from Geoffrey Foy to Jeffrey Manfredi, et al., subject “RE: Daily Caller story,” February 10, 2021.
403 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Paul Manfredi, subject “NAS Report,” September 14, 2020.
404 Letter from Paul Manfredi, Director, Confucius Institute, Pacific Lutheran University, to Jeffrey Manfredi, October 16, 2020.
405 Email from Norwell Coquillard to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Webinar on Confucius Institutes with the Washington State China Relations Council,” September 14, 2020.
406 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Norwell Coquillard, subject “Re: Webinar on Confucius Institutes with the Washington State China Relations Council,” September 23, 2020.
407 “Confucius Institute of the State of Washington,” Facebook, April 19, 2018, https://www.facebook.com/ConfuciusInstituteWA/photos/pcb.1765916850135038/1765916830135040/, accessed January 14, 2022.
408 “Staff,” Confucius Institute of the State of Washington, Pacific Lutheran University, undated, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/staff/jun-zhou/, accessed January 14, 2022.
411 Email from Aihua Liao to Jeffrey Riedinger, subject “Re: Chinese Flagship Language Program application deadline,” August 26, 2019.
412 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
413 Email from Dongmei Huang to Jeffrey Riedinger, et al., subject “Initial Operation Funds for 2 New Confucius Classrooms,” October 9, 2019.
414 Agreement between Confucius Institute Headquarters, Pacific Lutheran University, and the Seattle Public Schools on the Establishment and Continuation of the Confucius Institute of the State of Washington and the Confucius Education Center in the State of Washington, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/wp-content/uploads/sites/587/2021/04/1-hanban-plu-sps-agreement-2020-02-27-signed.pdf,
415 Agreement between Asia Society and Dearborn Park International School, March 15, 2021.
416 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
419 海外华人学者的人文社会科学观 https://www.chinafolklore.org/web/index.php?Page=2&NewsID=8561, accessed January 13, 2022.
420 “二十一世纪博弈中崛起的中国” [China in the Challenging 21st Century], 26th ACPSS International Conference, Pacific Lutheran University, October 29-31, 2021, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/acpss-conference/, accessed April 22, 2022.
421 “Panel 2,” 26th ACPSS International Conference, Pacific Lutheran University, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/acpss-conference/#abstract-panel-2b, accessed January 13, 2022.
422 “Panel 3,” 26th ACPSS International Conference, Pacific Lutheran University, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/acpss-conference/#abstract-panel-3, accessed January 13, 2022.
423 “Panel 4: China and the U.S. in the Era of Great Power Competition (Administration Building 101),” https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/acpss-conference/#abstract-panel-4, accessed January 13, 2022.
424 Zongli Tang, “Winning Hearts and Minds by China?– Xinjiang’s Role in BRI Construction and Its Meaning for Border Security,” Panel 2B: China Under Mao and Today, 26th ACPSS International Conference, Pacific Lutheran University, October 29-31, 2021, https://www.plu.edu/confucius-institute/acpss-conference/#abstract-panel-2b, accessed April 22, 2022.
426 Haiwang Yuan, “Chinese Embassy Officials Inspecting WKU Libraries for Possible Confucius Institute Holding,” WKU Libraries Blog, December 10, 2009, https://library.blog.wku.edu/2009/12/chinese-embassy-officials-inspecting-wku-libraries-for-possible-confucius-institute-holding/, accessed December 12, 2021.
427 “WKU Signs Agreement to Become First Kentucky Home of Confucius Institute,” WKU News, March 4, 2010, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2010/03/04/confucius-institute/, accessed December 12, 2021.
428 Article 16, “Implementation Agreement Between Western Kentucky University and Sichuan International Studies University For the Development of the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University,” May 11, 2010.
429 Article 11. Responsibilities of NCEPU, “Implementation Agreement Between Western Kentucky University and North China Electric Power University for the Development of the Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University,” March 25, 2011.
430 “WKU Signs Agreement to Become First Kentucky Home of Confucius Institute,” WKU News.
433 Wei-ping Pan, Director, “Confucius Institute Fall 2011 Publication (Report), “ The Confucius Institute Publications, Paper 3, 2011, (https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1005&context=ci_pubs), accessed December 14, 2021.
436 Susan G. Assouline, Nicholas Colangelo, et al., A Nation Empowered, Volume 2: Evidence Trumps the Excuses Holding Back America's Brightest Students, Belin Blank, 2015.
437 Yu, Sheng-Huei, “A Case Study of Hanban’s Chinese Language Teaching Program at Western Kentucky University:Developmental History and Preliminary Outcomes,” a dissertation presented to Faculty of the Educational Leadership Doctoral Program, Western Kentucky University, 2017, https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/diss/127/, accessed January 21, 2022.
438 “WKU President Presents Honorary Doctorate to Madame Xu Lin,” WKU News, July 26, 2011, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2011/07/26/xulin-doctorate/, accessed February 6, 2022.
439 Wei-ping Pan, Director, “Confucius Institute Fall 2011 Publication (Report)” (2011).
441 Amy Bingham DeCesare, “Confucius Institute Building Dedicated,” WBKO News, May 27, 2017, https://www.wbko.com/content/news/Confucius-Institute-Building-Dedicated-424360394.html, accessed January 10, 2022.
442 Wei-ping Pan, “Confucius Institute Fall 2014 Publication (Report),” The Confucius Institute Publications, Paper 7, 2014, https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=ci_pubs, accessed March 9, 2022.
443 “WKU Faculty Members Provide Training for Chinese Teachers,” WKU News, May 6, 2016, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2016/05/06/ci-training-may2016/, accessed March 9, 2022.
444 Chuck Mason, “Confucius Institutes Seek 1.5 Million Students by '15,” Bowling Green Daily News, September 30, 2013, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/confucius-institutes-seek-million-students-by/article_b76d909a-1908-5c68-ba32-a9dc80116bfd.html, accessed March 9, 2022.
445 “NCEPU Confucius Institute in Western Kentucky University was Awarded “Advanced Confucius Institute” of the Year 2013, North China Electric Power University, December 18, 2013, https://english.ncepu.edu.cn/hddt/hddttw/29645.html, accessed December 14, 2021.
446 Wei-ping Pan, Director, “Confucius Institute Fall 2013 Publication (Report)” (2013). The Confucius Institute Publications. Paper 5, https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1003&context=ci_pubs, accessed December 18, 2021.
448 “Confucius Institute at WKU Celebrates 2014 ‘Confucius Day,’” WKU News, October 6, 2014, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2014/10/06/ci-day-2014-recap/, accessed February 7, 2022.
451 “Confucius Institute at WKU Honored at Global Conference,” WKU News, December 8, 2015, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2015/12/08/ci-award-2015/, accessed December 19, 2021.
453 Aaron Mudd, “WKU Cuts Ties with Confucius Institute, Ending 9-Year Relationship,” Bowling Green Daily News, April 22, 2019, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/wku-cuts-ties-with-confucius-institute-ending-9-year-relationship/article_58b48692-d55e-57b3-9beb-bcdca2c40d4c.html, accessed December 19, 2021.
455 Madison Martin, “WKU Closing its Confucius Institute,” WBKO News, April 22, 2019, https://www.wbko.com/content/news/WKU-closing-its-Confusius-Institute-508907741.html, accessed December 19, 2021.
456 Minutes, WKU Senate Executive Committee (SEC) Meeting, October 5, 2015, 3:15 p.m., https://www.wku.edu/senate/archives/archives_2015/a-sec-minutes-oct-5-2015.pdf, accessed December 31, 2021.
457 “Teacher Education Faculty Members Train Hanban Teachers in China,” WKU News, May 7, 2013, https://wkunews.wordpress.com/2013/05/07/ste-ci-training/, accessed December 31, 2021. See also Dr. Martha Day, faculty webpage, https://www.wku.edu/ste/staff/martha_day, accessed December 31, 2021.
458 Andrew Henderson, “Confusion over Confucius Training Results in Possible Intellectual Property Theft,” College Heights Herald, May 5, 2016, https://wkuherald.com/32191/news/confusion-over-confucius-training-results-in-possible-intellectual-property-theft/, accessed December 31, 2021.
460 Andrew Henderson, “Confusion over Confucius Training Results in Possible Intellectual Property Theft.”
463 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Martha Day, October 24, 2021.
464 Minutes, WKU Senate Executive Committee (SEC) Meeting, October 5, 2015.
466 Andrew Henderson, “Confusion Over Confucius Training Results in Possible Intellectual Property Theft.”.
467 “An American University President: Why I Support the Confucius Institute,” People’s Daily Online, November 30, 2015, http://world.people.com.cn/n/2015/1130/c1002-27873239.html, accessed February 7, 2022.
468 Minutes, University Senate Meeting, November 19, 2015, https://www.wku.edu/senate/archives/archives_2015/a-1-nov-19-2015-university-senate-meeting-minutes.pdf, accessed December 31, 2021. See also Richey, Jay Todd, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” 2017, Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects, Paper 699, 87.
469 Minutes, University Senate Meeting, November 19, 2015, https://www.wku.edu/senate/archives/archives_2015/a-1-nov-19-2015-university-senate-meeting-minutes.pdf, accessed December 31, 2021. See also Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” June 28, 2017, Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects, Paper 699, 88.
470 Minutes, University Senate Meeting, November 19, 2015, https://www.wku.edu/senate/archives/archives_2015/a-1-nov-19-2015-university-senate-meeting-minutes.pdf, accessed December 31, 2021. See also Richey, Jay Todd, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” (2017) Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects, Paper 699, p. 88, https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1706&context=stu_hon_theses, accessed April 20, 2022.
472 Aaron Mudd, “WKU Cuts Ties with Confucius Institute, Ending 9-Year Relationship.”
475 Madison Martin, “WKU Closing its Confucius Institute.”
476 Letter from WKU president Timothy Caboni to Hanban Headquarters, April 22, 2019.
478 Letter from WKU president Timothy Caboni to Hanban Headquarters, June 14, 2019.
479 “Education Delegation in Kentucky Visited NCEPU & the First Advisory Committee of the Confucius Institution of Western Kentucky University was Held,” North China Electric Power University, October 15, 2019, https://english.ncepu.edu.cn/hddt/hddttw/73db753cf5774bcc8af0bec3f61dbc68.html, accessed April 20, 2022.
480 Minutes of the First Quarterly Meeting, WKU Board of Regents, January 23, 2015, page 4, (page 152 of total document), https://www.wku.edu/regents/documents/2015/01_23_2015-bor-agenda-and-min.pdf, accessed January 15, 2022.
482 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p. 74.
484 Articles 3 and 6, Agreement between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and United States, Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute.
485 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p.75.
486 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p. 77. See also Agreement between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and United States, Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute.
487 Article 23, Agreement between the Confucius Institute Headquarters of China and United States, Confucius Institute at Western Kentucky University on the Dedicated Site of a Model Confucius Institute.
488 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p.77.
489 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” pp. 77-80.
490 Senate Executive Committee Motion, August 17, 2015, https://www.wku.edu/senate/archives/archives_2015/f-2-senate-executive-committee-motion-august-17.pdf, accessed January 15, 2022.
491 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p. 81, See also “Student Government Association Legislation Archive,” Western Kentucky University, September 22, 2015.
492 Memo to Dr. Kate Hudespohl from Gary Ransdell, October 1, 2015.
493 Letter from WKU’s Office of General Counsel to Confucius Institute Headquarters, May 31, 2019.
495 Letter to President Timothy C. Caboni and Ms. Deborah Wilkins from Deputy Chief Executive of Confucius Institute Headquarters, June 12, 2019.
496 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin.
499 Michael Crimmins, “WKU in Litigation Over Closure of Confucius Institute,” College Heights Herald, February 11, 2022, https://wkuherald.com/63777/news/wku-in-litigation-over-closure-of-confucius-institute/, accessed March 3, 2022.
501 Aaron Mudd, “WKU Aims to Still Offer In-School Programs After Cutting Ties with CI,” Bowling Green Daily News, May 4, 2019, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/wku-aims-to-still-offer-in-school-programs-after-cutting-ties-with-ci/article_775dabe7-d40f-5057-a0e6-2b274b7c5fa5.html, accessed January 12, 2022.
502 Terrill Martin, “WKU Transfers Confucius Institute Programs to Simpson County Schools,” WKU News, July 1, 2019, https://www.wku.edu/news/articles/index.php?view=article&articleid=7814, accessed January 9, 2022.
503 “Simpson County School District to Take Over WKU Confucius Institute,” WNKY News, July 1, 2019, https://www.wnky.com/simpson-county-school-district-to-take-over-wku-confucius-institute/, accessed December 19, 2021.
505 Letter from Timothy C. Caboni to Mr. Ma Jianfei, April 22, 2019.
506 Letter from Deborah T. Wilkins to Ma Jianfei, May 31, 2019.
507 Letter from Timothy C. Caboni to Mr. Ma Jianfei, June 14, 2019.
509 “WKU Transfers Confucius Institute Program to Simpson County Schools,” WBKO News, July 1, 2019, https://www.wbko.com/content/news/WKU-transfers-Confucius-Institute-program-to-Simpson-County-Schools-512074582.html, accessed January 9, 2022.
511 Ibid., see Appendices A and B.
512 “Implementation Agreement Between Simpson County Board of Education and North China Electric Power University for the Development of the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.” See also “Education Delegation in Kentucky Visited NCEPU and the First Advisory Committee of the Confucius Institution of Western Kentucky University was Held,” North China Electric Power University News, October 15, 2019, https://english.ncepu.edu.cn/hddt/95d6a45b0202462e9365406b9b962fce.html, accessed January 20, 2022.
513 Article 4, Implementation Agreement Between Simpson County Board of Education and North China Electric Power University for the Development of the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.
514 Implementation Agreement Between Simpson County Board of Education and North China Electric Power University for the Development of the Confucius Institute of Western Kentucky.
515 Aaron Mudd, “Confucius Institute Programs to Continue Under Simpson County Schools Partnership,” Bowling Green Daily News, July 1, 2019, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/confucius-institute-programs-to-continue-under-simpson-county-schools-partnership/article_fb3e13c0-7e1c-5053-82bc-71d0ea3c8117.html, accessed January 12, 2022.
518 “Education Delegation in Kentucky Visited NCEPU and the First Advisory Committee of the Confucius Institution of Western Kentucky University was Held,” North China Electric Power University News.
524 BG Education Management Solutions Inc, Kentucky Secretary of State, https://web.sos.ky.gov/ftshow/(S(rz4x51zirhrumjnlhms5uyuu))/default.aspx?id=1021997&ct=09&cs=99999&ce=Df%2f2DVyMy7T7GC93CQ9oNxrpG7L1z1YMh%2fX8BLlipft30cKd7UI3jzCJD72hsLxd, accessed February 7, 2022.
525 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin.
526 “Meet the Team,” BG Education Management Solutions, https://bgeducationms.org/, accessed January 15, 2022. “The Team,” Martin Global Enterprises LLC, http://www.mgellc.com/the-team.html, accessed January 15, 2022.
527 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin.
529 Aarron Mudd, “Kentucky Partners with Taiwan to Boost K-12 Chinese Language Education,” Bowling Green Daily News, November 23, 2021, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/kentucky-partners-with-taiwan-to-boost-k-12-chinese-language-education/article_402d0c1d-28b6-553f-9016-c0403a4e0382.html, accessed December 30, 2022.
530 Aaron Mudd, “WKU President Sees Confucius Institute as Positive Despite Controversies,” Bowling Green Daily News, September 10, 2016, https://www.bgdailynews.com/news/wku-president-sees-confucius-institute-as-positive-despite-controversies/article_7b6a3b67-afe8-5df6-bc71-3b1fe30fc4c4.html, accessed December 31, 2022.
532 “Teachers and Students of the Confucius Institute at Seaken in the United States Cheered China’s Fight Against the Epidemic with Singing,” Times Watch, February 13, 2020, https://wap.peopleapp.com/article/rmh11482199/rmh11482199?from=singlemessage&isappinstalled=0, accessed February 7, 2022.
533 “Meet the Team,” Martin Global Enterprises.
534 “Director,” Institute for Combustion Science, Western Kentucky University, archived on Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20121022013120/http://wku.edu/icset/director.php, accessed January 22, 2022.
535 “Dr. Wei-Ping Pan,” Chemistry – Emeritus Faculty, Western Kentucky University, https://www.wku.edu/chemistry/emeritus_faculty/wei-ping_pan, accessed January 22, 2022.
536 “Dr. Wei-Ping Pan,” Chemistry – Emeritus Faculty, Western Kentucky University, https://www.wku.edu/chemistry/emeritus_faculty/wei-ping_pan, accessed January 22, 2022.
537 “Party Secretary Zhou Jian Participated in the ‘Reading China by Ink Painting’ Calligraphy and Painting Exhibition and Other Activities Held by Western Kentucky Confucius Institute, USA,” News and Events, North China Electric Power University, April 26, 2018, https://english.ncepu.edu.cn/hddt/129266.html, accessed April 15, 2022.
538 Sarah Jessup, “Climate Change: China Innovating in the Clean Coal Technology Market,” World Intellectual Property Organization, September 2008, https://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en/2008/05/article_0006.html, accessed January 18, 2022.
539Annual Report to Congress on Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage, Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, 2009, page 4, https://irp.fas.org/ops/ci/docs/2008.pdf, accessed January 18, 2022.
541 Terrill Martin, LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/terrill-martin-27b2b513, accessed January 21, 2022.
542 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p. 70.
543 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p. 74.
545 Jay Todd Richey, “Academic Freedom as a Human Right: The Problem of Confucius Institutes,” p.74.
546 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Terrill Martin.
547 Confucius Institute U.S. Center, “U.S. - China Educational Exchanges: 40 Years of Engagement in Higher Education.”
548 Sister University Agreement between Arizona Board of Regents for and on Behalf of Arizona State University (ASU) and Sichuan University (SU), April 21, 2006.
549 Rachelle Peterson, NAS, interview with Stephen West, May 27, 2021.
550 Mengying Li, “A Case Study of One Confucius Institute: A China-U.S. University Synergistic Collaboration,” A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Doctor of Philosophy, Arizona State University, February 2012, p. 212.
551 Letter from Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University, to Wang Luxin, Department for Confucian Affairs, The Office of Chinese Language Council International, October 18, 2006.
552 Letter from Janet Napolitano, Governor, State of Arizona, to Wang Luxin, Department for Confucian Affairs, The Office of Chinese Language Council International, January 25, 2007.
553 “ASU Partners with China’s Sichuan University to Establish Confucius Institute in Tempe,” ASU News, May 21, 2007, https://news.asu.edu/content/asu-partners-china%E2%80%99s-sichuan-university-establish-confucius-institute-tempe, accessed March 4, 2022.
555 “Confucius Institute Prepares for Launch,” ASU News, October 11, 2007, https://news.asu.edu/content/confucius-institute-prepares-launch, accessed March 4, 2022.
558 Leaming, Allison; Ewbank, Ann Dutton; Liu, Qian; and Gabbard, Ralph (2008) “Sichuan, China and Confucius in Arizona: Promoting Global Understanding through a Library Exhibition,” Journal of East Asian Libraries: Vol. 2008: No. 146 , Article 7, https://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2358&context=jeal , accessed March 4, 2022.
562 “Confucius Institute Prepares for Launch,” ASU News.
565 “Confucius Institute at Arizona State University,” Comparative Literature: East & West, 15:1, 2011, p. 168-184, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/25723618.2011.12015396, accessed March 4, 2022.
568 Email from Michael Shapiro, University of Washington, to Zev Handel, Robert C. Stacey, and Anand A. Yang, subject “Documents from ASU,” August 19, 2008.
569 “Confucius Institute at Arizona State University,” Comparative Literature: East & West.
574 Mengying Li, “A Case Study of One Confucius Institute: A China-U.S. University Synergistic Collaboration.”
575 “驻洛杉矶总领事刘健访问亚利桑那高校、慰问我留学人员” [Consul General Liu Jian in Los Angeles visits Arizona colleges and universities and conveys greetings to overseas Chinese students], July 9, 2014, https://china.huanqiu.com/article/9CaKrnJFcVv, accessed March 3, 2022.
576 “刘健总领事会见亚利桑那州立大学孔子学院院长Joe Cutter” [Consul General Liu Jian Meets with Joe Cutter, Director of the Confucius Institute at Arizona State University], November 5, 2011, http://scholarsupdate.hi2net.com/news.asp?NewsID=18826, accessed March 9, 2022.
577 Rachelle Peterson, Corrupting the College Board: Confucius Institutes and K-12 Education.
578 “China-Arizona Cultural Day” Held in Phoenix,” China Culture, October 5, 2016, http://cn.cccweb.org/portal/pubinfo/2020/04/28/200001003002001/ce4dc9345e0d448d94463812b2d68dd9.html, accessed March 5, 2022.
579 “Consul-General Liu Jian's Remarks at the Opening Ceremony of China-Arizona Cultural Day,” Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, https://www.mfa.gov.cn/ce/cgla/eng/gdxw/t1401998.htm, accessed March 5, 2022.
580 “Sichuan University Was Honored the “Advanced Chinese Partner of Confucius Institutes” International Office and Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan Affairs Office, Sichuan University, December 31, 2018, archived on Wayback Machine, https://web.archive.org/web/20220224212700/https://international.scu.edu.cn/info/1044/1001.htm, accessed March 5, 2022.
582 “University-Based Center to Bridge Distance Between US and Chinese Cultures,” News Wise, December 14, 2010, https://www.newswise.com/articles/university-based-center-to-bridge-distance-between-us-and-chinese-cultures?channel=, accessed March 5, 2022.
583 China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System.
584 “New Center to Bridge Distance Between US, Chinese Cultures,” ASU News, December 15, 2010, https://news.asu.edu/content/new-center-bridge-distance-between-us-chinese-cultures, accessed March 8, 2022.
586 China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System.
587 Rachelle Peterson, NAS, interview with Stephen West, May 27, 2021.
588 Rachelle Peterson, NAS, interview with Young Oh, June 11, 2021.
590 Rachelle Peterson, NAS, interview with Stephen West.
591 Daniel Rubio, “It’s Time for ASU to Reject the Confucius Institute,” The State Press, January 30, 2019, https://www.statepress.com/article/2019/01/spopinion-its-time-for-asu-to-reject-the-confucius-institute, accessed March 5, 2022.
592 Rachelle Peterson, interview with Michael Hechter, April 23, 2021.
593 Confucius Institute U.S. Center, “U.S. - China Educational Exchanges: 40 Years of Engagement in Higher Education.”
595 Isaac Windes, “China-Backed Language Institute Remains at ASU Amid National Closures,” The State Press, December 6, 2018, https://www.statepress.com/article/2018/12/sppolitics-china-backed-language-institute-remains-at-asu-amid-national-closures. accessed March 2, 2022.
596 Jonathan Landreth, “Building a Globally Fluent Workforce,” National Chinese Language Conference, Asia Society, May 31, 2018, https://asiasociety.org/national-chinese-language-conference/building-globally-fluent-workforce, accessed March 5, 2022.
597 “美国汉语教育进入加速发展期” [Chinese language education in the United States has entered a period of accelerated development], May 21, 2018, http://ydyl.people.com.cn/n1/2018/0521/c411837-30001696.html, accessed March 5, 2022.
598 Confucius Institute U.S. Center, “2018 Confucius Institute National Honors Gala – ‘Building Community, Changing Lives,’” PR Newswire, September 21, 2018, https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2018-confucius-institute-national-honors-gala--building-community-changing-lives-300716921.html, accessed March 5, 2022.
599 “中美国际教育考察团访问孔子学院总部” [Sino-US International Education Delegation Visits Confucius Institute Headquarters], December 2, 2018, http://www.chinatoday.com.cn/zw2018/rdzt/kzdh/201812/t20181202_800150140.html, accessed March 5, 2022.
600 “Sichuan University Was Honored the “Advanced Chinese Partner of Confucius Institutes.”
602 General Collaboration Agreement Between the Arizona Board of Regents for and on behalf of Arizona State University (“ASU”) and Sichuan University (“SCU”), 2017.
605 “Program Description,” W.P. Carey MBA - Shanghai, Arizona State University, https://webapp4.asu.edu/programs/t5/majorinfo/ASU00/BASHANGMBA/graduate/false?init=false&nopassive=true, accessed March 9, 2022.
606 “上海国家会计学院与美国亚利桑那州立大学合作举办会计（数据分析）硕士学位教育项目, 教育部予以资格认定的中外合作办学单位” [Shanghai National Institute of Accounting - Arizona State University Joint Master's Program in Accounting (data analysis), Sino-foreign cooperative education units recognized by the Ministry of Education], http://www.crs.jsj.edu.cn/aproval/detail/1133, accessed March 5, 2022.
607 “Arizona State University,” in the spreadsheet available for download at “College Foreign Gift and Contract Report.”
609 “China Unicom Americas Order on Revocation,” Federal Communications Commission, February 2, 2022, https://www.fcc.gov/document/china-unicom-americas-order-revocation, accessed March 5, 2022.
610 “Message from the Dean,” China Programs, W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona State University, archived on the Wayback Machine, http://web.archive.org/web/20210411102841/https://wpcarey.asu.edu/international-programs/china/english/deans, accessed March 8, 2022.
612 “Zhangyaping huijian meiguo yalisangna zhouli daxue xiaozhang 张亚平会见美国亚利桑那州立大学校长” [Zhang Yaping Meets with President of Arizona State University], November 3, 2014, http://www.bic.cas.cn/gjhzdt/201411/t20141103_4235857.html, accessed March 3, 2022.
613 “Innovative Coaching: Chinese Coaches Come to U,” Global U, University of Utah, September 3, 2019, https://global.utah.edu/stories/innovative-coaching-chinese-coaches-come-to-u/, accessed March 8, 2022.
614 “ASU Forging Partnerships with China to Speed Global Innovation,” The Design School, November 28, 2017, https://design.asu.edu/news/asu-forging-partnerships-china-speed-global-innovation, accessed March 4, 2022.
615 “Arizona State University Launches Online Chinese Master's Degree Program,” China Net, December 30, 2020, http://edu.china.com.cn/2020-12/30/content_77065112.htm, accessed March 4, 2022.
617 Kyra Haas, “ASU Closes China-Funded Institute after Defense Department Gives Ultimatum,” Arizona Republic, August 23, 2019, https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/politics/arizona-education/2019/08/23/asu-confucius-institute-china-closes-u-s-defense-department-objections/2101486001/, accessed March 5, 2022.
618 Elizabeth Redden, “3 More Universities Close Confucius Institutes,” Inside Higher Ed, May 1, 2019, https://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2019/05/01/3-more-universities-close-confucius-institutes, accessed March 5, 2022.
619 Arizona State University, “A Delegation from the Chinese Ministry of Education Visited Arizona State University to Discuss In-Depth Cooperation,” PR Newswire Asia, May 30, 2019, https://www.prnasia.com/story/247645-1.shtml, accessed March 9, 2022.
620 “Hainan University - Arizona State University International Tourism College,” Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, Arizona State University, https://publicservice.asu.edu/hainan-university-arizona-state-university-joint-international-tourism-college, accessed March 9, 2022.
621 “ASU Forging Partnerships with China to Speed Global Innovation.”.
622 “海南大学与美国亚利桑那州立大学开展合作办学” [Hainan University and Arizona State University cooperate in running schools ], Chisa, November 12, 2019, archived on the Wayback Machine, July 12, 2021, http://www.chisa.edu.cn/rmtdata/hqjy/201911/t20191112_273841.html, accessed April 20, 2022.
624 “Biodesign Institute Launches Partnership with China’s #1 Biomedical Research Complex,” Biodesign Institute, Arizona State University, September 29, 2019, https://biodesign.asu.edu/news/biodesign-institute-launches-partnership-china’s-1-biomedical-research-complex, accessed March 5, 2022.
625 “WCH and Biodesign Institute of ASU Signed Cooperation Agreement on Co-Construction of Biodesign Institute,” West China School of Medicine, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, http://www.wchscu.cn/details/51127.html, accessed March 5, 2022.
627 “Rubio Calls for End to U.S-China University Partnerships that Support the Development of Chinese Military Technologies,” Marco Rubio, February 8, 2022, https://www.rubio.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=452F7FF9-E4EF-49C9-BF0C-62AE48093970, accessed March 5, 2022.
629 Agreement Between the Chinese Language Council International (Hanban) and Purdue University on Establishing the Confucius Institute at Purdue University, 2006.
630 Ibid., Article One, Section 1 and 3.
631 Ibid., Article One, Section 2.
632 Ibid., Article One, Section 5.
633 Ibid., Article 4.
635 Ibid., Article 5.
636 Letter from Riall W. Nolan, Associate Provost and Administration Dean of International Programs; Larry Pherson, Director of Sponsored Program and Purchasing Services; and John J. Contreni, Dean, College of Liberal Arts; to “whom it may concern,” October 16, 2006.
637 Amy Patterson Neubert, “New Institute at Purdue Will Make China More Accessible to Indiana,” Purdue University News, May 14, 2007, https://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007a/070515HongInstitute.html, accessed February 23, 2022.
638 “Confucius Institute at Purdue University Was Established to Promote Chinese Language Promotion with Business Chinese,” China Overseas Chinese Network, May 31, 2007, http://www.chinaqw.com/hwjy/hjxw/200705/31/74456.shtml, accessed March 10, 2022.
639 Amy Patterson Neubert, “New Institute at Krannert Makes China More Accessible to Indiana,” Krannert Magazine, Fall 2007, https://krannert.purdue.edu/konline/fall2007/krannertData/china.asp, accessed March 10, 2022.
641 Letter from Purdue Provost Timothy Sands to Hanban Chair Xu Lin, “Letter of Appreciation and Renewal of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University,” November 22, 2010.
643 “普渡大学孔子学院成功举办印第安纳州教育局局长圆桌论坛” [The Confucius Institute at Purdue University successfully held the Indiana State Department of Education Director’s Roundtable Forum], Information Announcement, Shanghai Jiaotong University International Cooperation and Exchange Office, October 16, 2011, https://global.sjtu.edu.cn/news/view/248, accessed March 10, 2022.
644 Amy Patterson Neubert, “Students to Work with Media in Beijing During 2008 Olympics,” Purdue University News, September 20, 2007, https://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007b/070920SypherOlympics.html, accessed February 25, 2022.
646 “Beijing Imposes Propaganda Beyond Its Borders,” Reporters Without Borders, September 24, 2015, https://rsf.org/en/news/beijing-imposes-its-propaganda-beyond-its-borders, accessed February 25, 2022.
647 “Purdue University Confucius Institute Hosts Media Training Seminar,” Xinhua, May 9, 2010, http://www.china.org.cn/learning_chinese/news/2010-05/09/content_20001013.htm, accessed March 10, 2022.
648 “Chinese New Year Reception,” The Exponent, February 8, 2016, https://www.purdueexponent.org/campus/collection_d8df900e-cea7-11e5-a62d-67cae532e836.html, accessed February 25, 2022. See also Kathy Mayer, “Where to Celebrate Chinese New Year at Purdue,” Journal and Courier, February 9, 2018, https://www.jconline.com/story/news/local/2018/02/09/where-celebrate-chinese-new-year-purdue/316152002/, accessed February 25, 2022.
649 Wei Hong, “2015 Annual Report of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University Jan 1 to Dec 31,” Purdue University, 2015.
650 “New Institute at Purdue Will Make China More Accessible to Indiana,” Purdue University News, May 14, 2007, https://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007a/070515HongInstitute.html, accessed April 15, 2022.
651 Letter from Purdue Provost Timothy Sands to Hanban Chair Xu Lin, “Letter of Appreciation and Renewal of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University,” November 22, 2010.
652 Letter from the Office of the Provost, Purdue University to Xu Lin at Hanban Headquarters, March 15, 2016.
653 Publicity Pucssa, “普渡孔子学院院长洪玮老师为在普华人送来新春祝福” [Purdue Confucius Institute director Wei Hong conveys new year wishes to Chinese people at Purdue], YouTube, February 12, 2015, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GB8nC6T0qpU, accessed April 15, 2022.
654 Publicity Pucssa, “普度大学校长Mitch Daniels为在普华人送来新春祝福” [Purdue University President Mitch Daniels extends new year wishes to Chinese people at Purdue], YouTube, February 12, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDgBnxEDvKs, accessed April 15, 2022.
655 Wei Hong, “2016 Annual Report of the Confucius Institute at Purdue University Jan 1 to Dec 31,” Purdue, 2016.
656 Wei Hong, 2006-2012: Five-Year Major Activities from the Confucius Institute at Purdue University, Purdue University, 2012.
658 Amy Patterson Neubert, “Purdue Helps Indiana Mayors, Cities Learn About Working with China,” Purdue University News, February 7, 2011, https://www.purdue.edu/newsroom/events/2011/110207SypherConfucious.html, accessed February 28, 2022.
661 Wei Hong, “CIP Updates,” Purdue University, October 1, 2013.
665 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Chris Yeomans, September 14, 2021.
666 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with David Reingold, September 14, 2021.
668 Dan De Luce, “US Universities Retain Ties to Chinese Universities that Support Beijing’s Military Buildup, New Report Says,” NBC News, December 14, 2021, https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/us-universities-retain-ties-chinese-schools-support-chinas-military-bu-rcna8249, accessed February 24, 2022.
669 Craig Singleton, “The Middle Kingdom Meets Higher Education: How US Universities Support China’s Military-Industrial Complex,” Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, December 2021, page 8, https://www.fdd.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/fdd-monograph-the-middle-kingdom-meets-higher-education.pdf, accessed February 25, 2022.
670 Ibid., pp. 57-58.
671 “3+1+1 dual-degree program with Mechanical Engineering,” Office of Global Partnerships, Purdue University, https://globalpartners.purdue.edu/linkage-details/?id=2057, accessed February 28, 2022.
672 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jay Akridge, September 13, 2021.
673 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with David Reingold.
674 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Chris Yeomans.
676 Jimmy Quinn, “Yale’s ‘Anonymous’,” National Review, January 4, 2022, https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/yales-anonymous/, accessed February 25, 2022.
678 Jimmy Quinn, “Yale’s ‘Anonymous.’”
679 Sebastian Rotella and Haruka Sakaguchi, “Even on US Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out,” ProPublica, November 30, 2021, https://www.propublica.org/article/even-on-us-campuses-china-cracks-down-on-students-who-speak-out, accessed February 25, 2022.
680 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Chris Yeomans. See also Sebastian Rotella and Haruka Sakaguchi, “Even on US Campuses, China Cracks Down on Students Who Speak Out.”
681 Jimmy Quinn, “Yale’s ‘Anonymous’.”
682 Statement from President Leslie E. Wong in “San Francisco State University to Close Confucius Institute,” SF State News, May 2, 2019, https://news.sfsu.edu/announcements/san-francisco-state-university-close-confucius-institute, accessed February 24, 2022.
683 Email from Jiaxin Xie, Chinese Language and Culture Programs, Division of International Education, San Francisco State University, to Tian Laoshi, Hanban, August 2, 2019.
684 Letter from Jeffrey Riedinger, Vice Provost for Global Affairs, University of Washington, to Deputy Director Ma, September 9, 2019.
685 Flora Yan, NAS, interview with Jeffrey Riedinger.
686 Email from Jeffrey Riedinger to Sarah M. Castro, subject “Daily Caller story,” February 10, 2021.
687 China’s Impact on the U.S. Education System.
688 Institutional Compliance with Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, Office of the General Counsel, Department of Education, October 2020, https://www2.ed.gov/policy/highered/leg/institutional-compliance-section-117.pdf, accessed February 26, 2022.
690 Lars Schonander and Dan Lips, “Using Technology and Data Analysis to Improve Oversight of Foreign Influence in American Postsecondary Education,” Lincoln Network, January 19, 2022, https://lincolnpolicy.org/2022/using-technology-and-data-analysis-to-improve-oversight-of-foreign-influence-in-american-postsecondary-education/, accessed February 26, 2022.
691 South Dakota Freedom of Information Act, South Dakota Codified Laws §1-27-1.5(12), 2009, https://sdlegislature.gov/Statutes/Codified_Laws/2031551, accessed April 20, 2022.