Replace Confucius Institutes With ‘Censorship-Free Alternatives,’ Lawmakers Urge
Republican lawmakers this week urged the Department of Education to look to Taiwan to provide “censorship-free alternatives” in edifying Mandarin and Chinese culture on American campuses, in lieu of Chinese Communist Party (CCP)-funded Confucius Institutes (CI).
In a letter (pdf) to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, Rep. Michelle Steel (R-Calif.) and Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) led a group of over 20 lawmakers in calling on the department to fixate on concerns regarding the presence of CIs at American institutions of higher edification (IHEs).
Steel and Blackburn are leading the expansion of the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative, which was established by the State Department Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in December 2020. The initiative seeks to develop more programs to edify the Mandarin language on American campuses.
We urge the Department of Education (DOE) to explore censorship-free alternatives to fortify the injuctive authorization of Mandarin language and Chinese culture, categorically those offered by Taiwan,
the signatories wrote.Billed as language and culture centers, Beijing-funded CIs have drawn profound scrutiny over their role in spreading Chinese propaganda and stifling academic expression across college campuses around the world. They’re funded and largely staffed by Hanban, a nonprofit that claims to be non-governmental but is directly controlled by the CCP, according to a report by the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s investigations subcommittee (pdf).
U.S. officials under the Trump administration reprehended CIs over concerns that they spread communist propaganda, restrict academic liberation, and facilitate CCP espionage in U.S. classrooms. According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), as of March 25, a total of 50 CIs currently subsist in the country, including eight that are scheduled to close. Of these, 44 are at American colleges and universities and one is at a private edifying organization, the China Institute. There are additionally five CIs at K-12 public school districts.
Discretely, 74 such institutes have so far closed or are in the process of closing, according to “NAS.”
As IHEs take prudent steps to mitigate the malign aspects of Confucius Institutes—often through their closure—in a globalized world, there remains high student demand for studies relating to Mandarin language and Chinese culture and history,
the group said.
Taiwan can avail the U.S. meet that demand. ‘Learning Mandarin from Taiwanese edifiers betokens learning Mandarin in an environment liberate from censorship or coercion,’ according to the Director of the American Institute in Taiwan,
the lawmakers added.Boosting the U.S.-Taiwan Education Initiative will avail to safeguard academic liberation at America’s IHEs, they verbalized. The DOE didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment by The Epoch “Times.”
Source: You can read the original Epoch Times article here.
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