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📙 Outsourced to China. Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education by Rachelle Peterson — free epub


Confucius Institutes are teaching and research centers located at colleges and universities, underwritten by the Chinese government. Since 2005, more than 100 Confucius Institutes (CIs) have opened in the United States; 103 remain in operation. These Institutes, many offering for-credit courses in Chinese language and culture, are largely staffed and funded by an agency of the Chinese government’s Ministry of Education—the Office of Chinese Languages Council International, better known as the Hanban. The Hanban also operates similarly organized Confucius Classrooms (CCs) at 501 primary and secondary schools in the United States. These 604 educational outposts comprise a plurality of China’s 1,579 Confucius Institutes and Classrooms worldwide. Confucius Institutes frequently attract scrutiny because of their close ties to the Chinese government. A stream of stories indicates that intellectual freedom, merit-based hiring policies, and other foundational principles of American higher education have received short shrift in Confucius Institutes. The Hanban has shrouded Confucius Institutes in secrecy. At most Institutes, the terms of agreement are hidden. China’s leaders have not assuaged worries that the Institutes may teach political lessons that unduly favor China. In 2009, Li Changchun, then the head of propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party and a member of the party’s Politburo Standing Committee, called Confucius Institutes “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”1 We conducted case studies at twelve Confucius Institutes—two in New Jersey and ten in New York—and asked about hiring policies, funding arrangements, contracts between the Hanban and the university, pressure on affiliated faculty members, and more. This report is the result of that investigation.

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