NEW Fox News articles can now be heard on audio! Read this article. 0:00 / 5:34 BeyondWords As criticism of the centers’ funding relationship to the Chinese communist government grew over the past few years, colleges and universities across America closed their Confucius Institutes. However, some are now reopening their doors under a new name while continuing to accept funding from the Chinese Communist Party.
The majority of Confucius Institutes operate on college and university campuses, with a few operating inside K–12 school districts. As tensions between the Chinese government and the United States reach a level not seen in decades and intelligence officials warn that the instruction on language and culture is merely a cover under which the communist party seeks to propagandize inside the walls of America’s classrooms, their self-described goal is to offer students instruction in Chinese language and culture.
FBI Director Christopher Wray stated that Confucius Institutes are a “source of concern” and are a component of China’s “soft power strategy” during a U.S. Senate hearing in 2019.
According to Wray, such “provide a forum to promote Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party propaganda to support censorship and restrict academic freedom.”
FBI Director Ray warns that China poses the “most long-term threat to economic and national security.”
Numerous American schools and universities said the Confucius Institutes operating on their campuses will lock their doors in the face of criticism from legislators and government officials. According to the National Association of Scholars, only 18 of the 118 Confucius Institutes that were originally active in the United States remain today.
However, a number of educational institutions have since entered new agreements with the Chinese government, according to a recent report by the National Association of Scholars. , as at least 100 colleges and universities have closed their Confucius Institutes, effectively ending those agreements with entities of the Chinese Communist Party.
For instance, the Confucius Institute at Georgia State University shut its doors in July 2020. According to the report, a new agreement for a new program—the Chinese Language and Culture Program—was inked in the same month between the university and Beijing Language and Culture University, the former partner institution for the Confucius Institute.
The Chinese government-sponsored university still assists in staffing the program, and the recently inked agreements establishing the Chinese Language and Culture Program include clauses like “greater guarantees for intellectual freedom.”
According to the report, Beijing Language and Culture University, a former Confucius Institute partner in China, and Western Michigan University, whose Confucius Institute dissolved on December 31, 2020, negotiated a new agreement that took effect the day after the Confucius Institute shut down.
According to the new agreement, Beijing Language and Culture University is in charge of sending a scholar and covering all associated expenditures, including lodging and remuneration. According to the source, Western Michigan University supplies space for the new program, aids in securing a visa for the scholar chosen by the Chinese government, and offers undisclosed “fiscal support.”
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According to the article, the university backed by the Chinese government is also in charge of “offering curriculum” and “textbook selection.” The visiting scholar selected by Beijing Language and Culture University is “responsible for managing and directing all BLCU offered teachers and staff,” much like the Confucius Institute did.
The FBI, Western Michigan University, and Fox News Digital have all been contacted.
The NAS report states that at least 28 colleges have switched out their Confucius Institute programs for equivalent ones.
American colleges are embracing Confucius Institute 2.0, according to Ian Oxnevad, a program research associate at the National Association of Scholars and one of the report’s authors, who spoke to Fox News Digital.
“The reputation of the brand has been damaged, but the car is still there. It’s kind of like a tarnished label, yet the product is still marketable in China. In order to sell it as something else even if it is actually the same thing, they will apply a new label to it “explained Oxnevad.
To avoid scrutiny, the Chinese propaganda program in US schools quietly changed the name of its headquarters.
As a means for China to “influence opinions of China among American students,” he added that Confucius Institutes and their substitutes constitute a threat.
“It is a source of propaganda. At the same time, it also essentially provides China with a location where it may carry out economic espionage in the open by stealing academic secrets and shipping them home to China “explained Oxnevad. “Dissidents can be spied on thanks to it. Having faculty members there who were chosen by the Chinese government definitely gives them a way to monitor critics of China, whether they are from China or not.”
Confucius Institutes’ “rebranding” comes after concerns from Ken McCallum, director-general of the UK’s MI5 intelligence organization, as well as Wray. The two warned American businesses that the Chinese government wanted to steal their technology during a joint event in London on July 6.