US Varsities Shutting Down Confucius Institutes Amid Increased Scrutiny


Three more Confucius Institutes linked to US universities have been closed down due to the National Defense Authorization Act which prohibits institutes to receive federal funding for Chinese language programs if they host a Confucius Institute.

The University of Oregon, San Francisco State University and Western Kentucky University have now joined the list of 12 other US higher education institutes who have closed the centers administered by the Chinese government due to increased scrutiny lately.

Despite the application of institutes to the Pentagon, the headquarters of the Department of Defense, for possible waivers to the law, it is assumed that the department denied all waivers.

According to University of Oregon’s Vice Provost Division of Global Engagement Dennis Galvan the closing was regretful but it “was necessary in order to protect the funding for the Chinese Flagship program,” he added.

In the official statement, the varsity explained how the internationalization department was asked to select between the CI and federal funding for the varsities National Security Education Chinese Flagship. The National Security Education Program aims to promote or endorse foreign languages along with facilitating cultural expertise.

“It has helped us campus-wide to foster mutual understanding, constructive dialogue and evidence-based comprehension of China, its global emergence, its culture and its people. We would have very much preferred to retain both programs,” Galvan added.

Since the ban, federal officials have “withheld $343,000 from the west coast institution, which would have supported students studying or working on internships in China.” In 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress about the pressing concerns they had over Confucius Institutes, confirming that an investigation was under process. “It is something that we’re watching warily and in certain instances have developed appropriate investigative steps,” he said at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

Related: Peshawar University to Get Confucius Institute for Chinese Language, Culture

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