The University of North Florida announced that it will cut ties with the China-funded Confucius Institute on its campus. Others of the approximately 100 colleges and universities hosting Confucius Institutes are considering doing so as well or have already done so.
Ostensibly, Confucius Institutes are apolitical partnerships between American and Chinese universities, giving American students opportunities to learn to speak Chinese or study abroad. But the Chinese themselves say that they serve as “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda” and they also serve as outposts of China’s intelligence and surveillance operations, as FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the U.S. Senate in February.
In addition to the 100-plus Confucius Institutes in the U.S., China runs about 500 “Confucius Classrooms” at American K-12 schools. In Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the United States, and other countries, China runs 1,500 Confucius Institutes and Classrooms, with 40 percent of them in the U.S., more than any other country.
The Confucian Institutes are one of the programs of Beijing’s international coercive propaganda agency, the United Front Work Department (UFWD). Every aspect of the Confucian Institutes is tightly controlled by the Hanban agency, a Chinese Communist Party agency. Teachers and teaching materials are all supplied by China. Taiwan and Tibet are portrayed as undisputed territories of China, with no alternate views permitted. The 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the one million Uighurs in re-education camps, the human rights abuses in China are all forbidden subjects.