X

Germany Seeks To Counter Chinese Influence At Universities As Concerns About Confucius Institutes Grow

July 8th, 2021 14:10

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.

Read the rest here.

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.

Read the rest here.

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.”