Utah lawmakers seek to close remaining Confucius Institutes

Utah House Joint Resolution 8 would close the last remaining Confucius Institutes in the state, at the University of Utah and Southern Utah University.

The resolution cites concern of propaganda by institutes and dishonesty in their portrayal of China.

The joint resolution commends Utah institutions of higher learning that have already closed their Confucius Institutes.

A new resolution in the Utah state legislature seeks to close the two remaining Confucius Institutes in Utah, citing security concerns and influence from the Chinese Communist Party. 

Introduced Feb. 1, the Joint Resolution to Protect Utah’s Institutions of Higher Education from Chinese Communist Party Influence (H.J.R. 8), “calls on Utah’s institutions of higher education to close their Confucius institutes and disclose certain information related to Confucius institutes to the Legislature.”

Introduced by Republican representative Candice Pierucci of Utah District 52, the resolution calls for education “free from manipulation of the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies.”

[RELATED: Ala. lawmakers push to ban CCP-funded Confucius Institutes from universities]

H.J.R. 8 mentions concerns by the FBI and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) over the threat Confucius Institutes pose to academic freedom. Further, over 45 institutes have closed since 2014 and the last two in Utah would close by December 2022, if the resolution is passed. 

The two remaining Confucius Institutes reside at the University of Utah and Southern Utah University (SUU). 

The University of Utah was “already in the process of winding down their Confucius Institute and are completely supportive of the resolution,” Rep. Pierucci told Campus Reform. Further, the representative has been working with SUU to form a new and fully university-operated Chinese language program. 

“Students should not be taught a sanitized history of China, they should be receiving a comprehensive education enlightened with real facts and a serious understanding of the human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government,” Pierucci further stated. 

Passing the resolution would require all universities to disclose the contracts with their institutes and “any efforts by the institute to influence events hosted by the higher education institution related to issues that may be deemed sensitive to the Chinese Communist Party.” 

This could include “events that are critical of Chinese Communist Party policies towards Taiwan, the Uyghur minority, Hong Kong, Tibet, or repression of other ethnic and religious minorities.”

[RELATED: US designates Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes as ‘foreign missions’]

Institutes have been staffed with visiting teachers from China and are partially funded by the Chinese government, “under guidance from the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department,” the resolution further claims. 

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