Hong Kong media is reporting that Germany will invest millions of Euros to combat Chinese influence over German Universities. According to a South China Morning Post article, the German Education Minister called on universities to cut off cooperation with the Confucius Institutes:
July 3, 2021 Germany is building up its own knowledge base about China as it seeks to diminish Beijing’s influence over its universities. The education ministry announced on Tuesday that it was investing €24 million (US$28.4 million) in a programme running between 2017 and 2024 to strengthen “independent China competence” in its universities and research institutes. The aim of the project is to support science and research cooperation with China that is “based on European values”, according to a statement from the education ministry. Anja Karliczek, the education minister, said the country still wanted to engage with China and needs more talents who understand Chinese culture, language, society and history. But she added such efforts must be conducted independently by Germany, and called on universities to cut off cooperation with the Confucius Institutes, a state-funded educational partnership that offers courses in Chinese language and culture.
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Confucius 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 May, we reported that China is expanding its influence in Eastern Europe using Hungarian and Serbian universities.
GIOR reporting on China’s Confucius Institutes has included:
- In May, we reported that the director of the Confucius Institute in Bratislava tried to intimidate a local China expert shortly after he published a survey exposing China’s presence at Slovak universities.
- In March, we reported that a Dutch Professor of Chinese language and culture, whose salary was partially paid by a Dutch Confucius Institute, had been contractually prohibited from “damaging the image of China.”
- In October, we reported that the US designated Confucius Institutes as “Foreign Missions.”