by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Rachelle Peterson writes for the Martin Center about the latest closing of a Confucius Institute on an American college campus.
North Carolina State University is the latest university to announce plans to close its Confucius Institute. Ten American colleges and universities have parted ways with these Chinese government-funded centers, seven of them in the last 14 months.
The Chinese government funds some 500 Confucius Institutes at colleges and universities around the world, and 107 in the United States. Each one comes with teachers and textbooks chosen and paid for by the Chinese government, along with about $100,000 in annual operating funds.
In exchange, China gains a key opportunity to shape the minds of college students and an easy way to monitor American scholars of China and Chinese students studying abroad. FBI director Christopher Wray has also testified to evidence of espionage in Confucius Institutes.
Confucius Institutes have become the subject of increasing national scrutiny in the last year—in large part because of growing reports that China uses Confucius Institutes to stifle academic freedom. They also present a conveniently rosy picture of China that leaves out the Tiananmen Square Massacre, the 1 million Uyghurs now held in concentration camps, and the authoritarian grip of the Chinese Communist Party.