Dutch media has reported that a Professor of Chinese language and culture at the University of Groningen has been barred from “damaging the image of China”. According to the NOS report, half of his salary is paid by the Groningen Confucius Institute:
February 17,2021 A professor of Chinese language and culture at the University of Groningen (RUG) has been contractually prohibited from “damaging the image of China.” The ordinary professor is employed by the RUG, but half of his salary is paid by an organization with ties to the Chinese government, the Groningen Confucius Institute. This appears from an agreement between these two parties, which is in the hands of the NOS. Several Dutch academics react with surprise to the conditions in the contract, which was signed in 2014 and tacitly renewed for 5 years last year. Among students there is a growing call for the RUG to break the ties. The contract states that the Chinese partner can unilaterally terminate the appointment of the Groningen professor if his teaching and research activities “seriously violate Chinese law or cause serious damage to China’s image.” Whether and when that happens will be determined by the Hanban. This is the Chinese umbrella organization of all Confucius Institutes worldwide. [Translated by DeepL]
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Confucian Institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries. In 2019, Inside Higher Ed described Confucian Institutes as follows:
The Confucius Institutes have long been controversial. The centers vary somewhat across different campuses, but they typically offer some combination of Mandarin language classes, cultural programming and outreach to K‑12 schools and the community more broadly. They are staffed in part with visiting teachers from China and funded by the Chinese government, with matching resources provided by the host institution. The number of U.S. universities hosting the institutes increased rapidly after the first was established at the University of Maryland College Park in 2004, growing to more than 90 at the peak.
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In November 2020, we reported that he organization responsible for developing the US college entrance exams was severing its financial ties with the Chinese Confucius Institute Headquarters.
For more on the Confucius Institutes, go here.