The United States has assigned the Confucius Institute (CI), a global education program run by the Chinese government, as a foreign propaganda mission.
As per the order, Confucius Institute, which provides cultural programs and language abroad, is owned or effectively governed by a foreign government.
Staff will be required to register and follow similar restrictions placed on diplomatic embassies. This comes amid deteriorating relations between the US and China.
Mike Pompeo, US Secretary of State, in a statement announcing the move, called the CI an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and deadly impact campaign on American campuses and classrooms.
Mr. Pompeo further added that the move was made to better inform educators. The United States wants to guarantee that students on American campuses should be free from the Chinese Communist Party and its proximity to tampering with Chinese language and cultural offerings.
The Confucius Institute of China defines itself as a non-profit organization, which aims to promote Chinese language and culture.
For many students of America, Confucius Institute has been a helpful platform to study the Chinese language, but critics say the organization is distant from innocent.
Beijing has been accused of pressurizing the host universities on institutions for censor speeches considered politically sensitive. An American university canceled its plan to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, for talks. Another removed a reference to Taiwan from a biography of a university speaker.
Beijing is likely to retaliate, as it did when the US marked nine major Chinese state media as “foreign missions”. But it is difficult to speculate on China’s goals, as educational exchanges between the two countries have been greatly reduced in the face of growing tensions.
Washington ended the US long-running Peace Corps program in China months ago.
Traditionally, education, considered as low-hanging fruit for international cooperation, has now become entangled in politics and is not spared in decomposing it in the US-China.
Tensions between the US and China have increased at a rapid pace in recent months. The White House has indicted Beijing of lying about the origin of the COVID-19, which emerged in China late last year, steal intellectual property, using social media apps to spy on Americans, and a Chinese embassy. To hide the wanted criminal within. US – to name but a few of the charges.
Basically, CI is open to the general public which encourages the Chinese language but also runs classes in culture, from calligraphy and cooking to tai chi. They promote educational exchanges and organize public events and lectures.
Some Western scholastics accept the task presents a genuine danger to the opportunity of thought and speech in education. Others guard them, featuring the advantage of offering access to the Chinese language discovering that destitute colleges just can’t bear the cost of all alone.