ASU closes Confucius Institute after Pentagon denies waiver request
- Arizona State University has joined a growing number of universities who have been forced to shut down their Chinese funded Confucius Institutes
- The university had applied for a waiver to a recent ruling barring the institutes from receiving federal funding. The Pentagon has denied the university’s request.
Arizona State University’s Confucius Institute has shuttered after the Pentagon denied the university’s request to evade Congress’ efforts to defund what the Chinese government bills as Chinese language and cultural centers.
ASU is just one of 15 universities that have closed their Confucius Institutes after U.S. intelligence agencies raised concerns that the entities were spreading propaganda for the Chinese Communist Party under the guise of educating students. According to the Arizona Republic, ASU quietly announced the institute's closure back in May. However, the local outlet only recently reported it.
"We regret to inform you that as of May 31, 2019, the Confucius Institute at Arizona State University is closed. We thank you for your dedicated support to our programs," an archived version of ASU's Confucius Institute website reads.
The branch hosted at ASU was also reportedly involved in multiple partnerships with Arizona public schools.
Last year, Congress barred all universities hosting Confucius Institutes from receiving Department of Defense funding for Chinese language study, but ASU, like many other colleges, applied for a waiver. The university’s request was denied by the Pentagon over the summer. Closing down the institute qualifies ASU to receive the $3.75 million it is set to receive from the Pentagon over the next five years for its Language Flagship Program.
Former Chinese government official and propaganda minister Liu Yushan has admitted that the Chinese government uses Confucius Institutes to “actively carry out international propaganda battles against issues such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun gong,” according to a 2018 Politico report.
"The [Chinese Communist Party] provides ‘strings-attached' funding to academic institutions and think tanks to deter research that casts it in a negative light," according to CIA reports obtained by the Washington Free Beacon last year.
"It has used this tactic to reward pro-China viewpoints and coerce Western academic publications and conferences to self-censor. The CCP often denies visas to academics who criticize the regime, encouraging many China scholars to preemptively self-censor so they can maintain access to the country on which their research depends."
The University of Oregon, Western Kentucky University, San Francisco State University, and the University of Florida have also recently closed their Confucius Institutes over funding. However, dozens such center still operate on college campuses across the country.
Some colleges, though, have refused to close their Confucius Institute, despite warnings from the federal government.
Campus Reform visited one college campus that still operates a Confucius Institute, the University of Maryland-College Park, which is located just outside Washington, D.C., where students sided with the communist Chinese government over President Donald Trump and U.S. intelligence.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @celinedryan