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US Senators Query College Entrance Exam Company About Financial Relationship With Confucius Institutes

October 30th, 2020 14:02

Uni­ver­si­ty media in the US is report­ing that a group of US Sen­a­tors is ask­ing the devel­op­er of col­lege entrance exams to clar­i­fy its finan­cial rela­tion­ship with the Chi­nese Con­fu­cius Insti­tute Head­quar­ters. Accord­ing to a Prince­ton Dai­ly Clar­i­on report:

Octo­ber 28, 2020 (The Cen­ter Square) – U.S. Sen. Mar­sha Black­burn, R‑Tennessee, and six oth­er U.S. sen­a­tors are ask­ing the devel­op­er of the SAT and AP tests to clar­i­fy its finan­cial rela­tion­ship with the Chi­nese Con­fu­cius Insti­tute Head­quar­ters (Hanban).In a let­ter sent this week to Col­lege Board CEO David Cole­man, Black­burn and oth­ers asked for clar­i­fi­ca­tion on fund­ing Col­lege Board has received from Han­ban and oth­er for­eign sources, its use of fed­er­al fund­ing in cre­ation of Han­ban affil­i­at­ed pro­grams and Hanban’s roles in devel­op­ment of AP Chi­nese lan­guage and cul­ture tests and Chi­nese guest teacher pro­grams. “We are con­cerned that the [People’s Repub­lic of Chi­na] exploits its part­ner­ship with Col­lege Board to sti­fle con­ver­sa­tion that might under­mine the rep­u­ta­tion of the [Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty],” Black­burn and oth­ers wrote. A recent report by con­ser­v­a­tive non­prof­it the Nation­al Asso­ci­a­tion of Schol­ars (NAS), the impe­tus for the let­ter, doc­u­ment­ed how, since 2003, Col­lege Board has worked close­ly with Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and the Chi­nese Com­mu­nist Par­ty to devel­op AP Chi­nese lan­guage cours­es and served as a recruiter for Chi­nese nation­als to teach in U.S. class­rooms. Accord­ing to the report, Col­lege Board received gen­er­ous fund­ing from the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment, includ­ing a $685,000 con­tri­bu­tion for AP lan­guage test devel­op­ment. Many Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes in Amer­i­can uni­ver­si­ties have closed, includ­ing two of the three in Ten­nessee. Mid­dle Ten­nessee State Uni­ver­si­ty announced in July it would “wind down” its rela­tion­ship with the remain­ing Con­fu­cius Insti­tute in the state.

The Glob­al Influ­ence Oper­a­tions Report (GIOR) report­ed ear­li­er this month that the US State Depart­ment had des­ig­nat­ed the Chi­nese Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes as “For­eign Missions.”

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.  

Read the rest here.

For more on the Con­fu­cius Insti­tutes, go here.