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China veers away from academics, controls students abroad via Confucius Institutes for not toeing Beijing's line

ANI | Updated: Sep 25, 2022 18:57 IST


Beijing [China], September 25 (ANI): China, with the help of Confucius Institutes operational across countries, threatens its students studying abroad for not toeing Beijing's line, media reports said.
These Chinese students are increasingly becoming China's pawn which tries to enforce control over these students and propagate its agenda. However, it is not just its students abroad where China plays out its coercive tactic, reported Sagarmatha.
There is substantial evidence that under the garb of carrying out academic activities these institutes indulged in espionage activities. Slipping away from this if we look at this with a broader lens, we will see that there are many government-sponsored cultural institutes teaching a nation's language, culture and values to others.
But what is worth noting is that there cannot be a campaign to shut down these institutes as long they do not censor certain information for geopolitical gain or misrepresents history, reported Sagarmatha.
The case is not the same with the Chinese Confucius Institutes. A host of countries have expressed there concerns over whether these institutes are operating effectively at all.
Another accusation which is laid on these so-called academic institutes is their meddling in teacher recruitment, dictating curricula, staging protests and choosing lessons that distort history especially related to Taiwan, Tiananmen and Tibet.
China and Taiwan have been at daggers drawn for a long time over sovereignty claims. China claims that the island nation of Taiwan is its own part however Tapei denies the same. To push its Taiwan agenda, these institutes pressure universities to cancel the conference in Taiwan and the Dalai Lama's visit.

One big advantage that China exploits via Confucius Institutes is their contacts. These institutes gives the Chinese Communist Party direct access to officials at the universities.
With this contact, Beijing spreads a positive image of China and veers away from conversations around sensitive issues that negatively impact the image of the CCP.
Confucius Institutes were established in 2004. There are 541 institutes and about 2000 Confucius classes operating in 162 countries at the primary, secondary and university levels. These institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries.
Named after the ancient Chinese philosopher, these institutes are expected to promote Confucius' famous principles of honesty, righteousness and morality, but in recent years there has been growing concern over whether these institutes are operating effectively.
The operation of Confucius Institutes has come under increased scrutiny in Western countries, leading to the closure of institutions not only in the United States, but also in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Sweden, reported Sagarmatha.
Of the 118 such institutes in the US, 104 have closed by the end of 2021, and many other CIs are in the process of closing. However, Chinese authorities are trying to persuade colleges and universities to reopen similar programs.
Many European countries, including the UK, France, Germany, Sweden, etc., are either shutting down CIs out of concern that they are being used for espionage and are censoring topics on political grounds. (ANI)

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