The Corner

Education

The ‘Confucius Institutes’ Are Unseemly, but What Can We Do?

In one of its “soft power” ploys, the Chinese government is active in funding “Confucius Institutes” at American colleges and universities. While they are ostensibly just about helping American students better learn about Chinese language and customs, they also serve to put a kindly face on the atrocious human-rights record of the Chinese government. This is about projecting a certain image and that runs afoul of our concept of academic freedom.

The National Association of Scholars did an excellent job of calling out these programs in its 2017 report “Outsourced to China.”

Notably, the University of Chicago decided to end its Confucius Institute in 2014. And just last week, Texas A&M pulled the plug, as we read in this NAS release.

Senator Marco Rubio has taken notice of this and drafted some curative language for the Higher Education Act.

I discuss all of this in my latest Forbes article.

George Leef is the the director of editorial content at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.

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