Left Menu
Development News Edition

U.S. Senate wants Confucius Institutes to change or shut down


U.S. Senate wants Confucius Institutes to change or shut down
Image Credit: Flickr

China has provided over $158 million to U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes to promote Chinese culture, U.S. Senate investigators said on Wednesday, releasing a report saying the centres have acted as tightly controlled propaganda arms for Beijing and should be changed - or shut down.

The Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations spent eight months investigating the Confucius Institutes, which were created in 2004 to promote Chinese language and culture at schools and universities around the world. But the centres have been criticized, particularly in the United States, for promoting the views of the Chinese Communist party, assertions denied by both the institutes and the government.

China's government said on Feb. 24 that it plans to "optimize" the spread of the institutes and they will remain a key part of government policy. The new Senate report said China's government controls nearly every aspect of the institutes in the United States, including their funding, staff and programming. It also can veto any program or speaker.

The report was released amid a costly trade war between Washington and Beijing, which has seen President Donald Trump and other U.S. officials accuse the Chinese of using students as spies, stealing intellectual property and a range of other dirty tricks. Earlier on Wednesday, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a House of Representatives committee that the United States will need to maintain the threat of imposing tariffs on Chinese goods for years even if a deal is struck to end the current dispute.

NO EVIDENCE OF ESPIONAGE The Senate investigators did not find evidence that staff at the Confucius Institutes were involved in espionage or other activity that would need reporting to law enforcement. But they did find many staff had obtained the wrong type of visa and that 70 per cent of U.S. colleges and universities that received at least $250,000 per year from the Chinese government did not report it as required by the Department of Education.

The report's recommendations included requiring that U.S. schools publish online all contracts with foreign governments, ensure hiring confirms to their rules, not Beijing's, and that the State Department review all visas and demand reciprocal treatment in China. "Absent full transparency regarding how Confucius Institutes operate and full reciprocity for U.S. cultural outreach efforts on U.S. campuses in China, Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States," Senator Rob Portman, the subcommittee's Republican chairman, said in a statement.

Subcommittee investigators said they were considering legislation to ensure the centres complied with their recommendations. The subcommittee will hold a hearing on China's influence on U.S. education on Thursday. Officials at the Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Besides Confucius Institutes at 100 U.S. schools, Beijing also funds more than 500 "Confucius Classrooms" that teach Chinese language and culture in primary and high schools. The investigators said some of the U.S. universities' contracts with the Chinese government include non-disclosure provisions and require adherence to U.S. and Chinese law. They faulted the U.S. Department of Education for doing too little oversight.

Officials at the Education Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The report also said the U.S. State Department had tried to set up a program in China to promote U.S. culture, but that China had insisted on controlling the program to such an extent that the department stopped funding it in October.

(With inputs from agencies.)

Download The Devdiscourse News App for Latest News.


TRENDING

OPINION/BLOG/INTERVIEW

Top 10 Fake News, Myths and Realities on 2019 Novel Coronavirus COVID 19

With nearly 1500 deaths by January 14 and around 65,000 infections in China, the Novel Coronavirus 2019 has become one of the worst health epidemics of the 21st Century. However, 8,573 people have been cured but the rumor mongers are a...

Handling fake news Infodemic in time of Coronavirus epidemic

Social media has provided a platform where everybody can disseminate his her views without any supervision. Its excellent if the message is genuine but misinformation is equally disastrous. Health is such a topic where every Tom and Harry c...

Sentiment Analysis on Budget 2020: Long shot for solution to economic worries?

Industries and individuals alike had high expectations from the government to take tangible steps but the budget 2020 seems to have failed expectations....

How can technology help the future of mobility?

More than a billion people or one-third of the global rural population lacked access to all-season roads and transport services in 2016, subsequently hindering the socio-economic development....

Videos

Latest News

Hedge funds use DIY strategies to gauge coronavirus impact

As investors crunch numbers to determine how the coronavirus will hit Chinas economy, hedge fund manager Nathaniel Polachek has tied much of his outlook to the fate of a ship anchored near Weihai, China. The vessel carries some 750 tons of ...

Mainland China reports 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Feb 18

Mainland China had 1,749 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Tuesday, the countrys National Health Commission said on Wednesday, down from 1,886 cases a day earlier and the lowest since Jan. 29. That brings the total accumulate...

Agent: Broncos QB Flacco plans to play in 2020

Denver Broncos quarterback Joe Flacco intends to continue playing in 2020, assuming he is cleared medically in his recovery from a neck injury, his agent said Tuesday. Joe has every intention to play but not at the risk of his long-term hea...

World News Roundup: Coronavirus cases fall for second day; Tripoli government suspends Libya talks and more

Following is a summary of current world news briefs.Coronavirus cases in Chinas Hubei fall for second day, Apple and markets feel impactNew coronavirus cases in the Chinese province at the epicenter of the outbreak fell for a second straigh...

Give Feedback