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Letter to the editor icon2

Letter to the editor icon2

Confucius Institutes concern

China has been funding Confucius Institutes (CI) language programs under the communist regime's Ministry of Education since 2004, in which it forms partnerships with American universities. There are currently 103 branches on campuses across the U.S. The question that needs to be addressed is does the communist regime just want to promote Chinese culture, or is there something more unethical about its intentions?

In an in-depth report just issued by the National Association of Scholars (NAS) www.nas.org/projects/confucius_institutes it reported concern that American universities are becoming financially dependent on China, as typically a university receives $150,000 in start-up funds and $100,000 in subsequent years. The NAS research found that Chinese teachers at CI felt pressured to avoid certain topics that are censored in China, such as the Tiananmen Square massacre, Falun Gong, Tibet, Taiwan, and criticism of Communist Party legitimacy. In recent years, faculty at universities that host CI have often voiced concerns about their campus branch having been established in secrecy, being beyond local faculty control, and competing with their modern language program. Many universities are now choosing to cut their ties with CI.

The University of Montana in Missoula has had a CI since 2008. CI is also in ten Montana high schools. What is really being taught to our children? CI had a booth at the county fair in Kalispell last year that attracted mostly children by offering Chinese games. Are we being infiltrated unknowingly? They are very good at slowing integrating into the community, first making their presence known by the use of “soft power.” We need to wake up and not let easy money sway our decisions concerning curriculum about Chinese culture and language.

— Katherine Combes, Kalispell

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