China renames global Confucius Institute schools amid negative publicity

China renames global Confucius Institute schools amid negative publicity

The Chinese government is officially renaming their global Confucius Institute educational outlets as schools continue to axe the programs after years of negative press.

The communist Chinese propaganda paper Xinhua printed an English language press release announcing new "language cooperation" centres on July 5.

According to The Epoch Times:

The name change comes as more and more Confucius Institutes hosted by educational institutions in the West—including almost 40 in the United States and several in Canada and Europe—are closing amid concerns the Beijing-funded programs are being used to expand the regime’s propaganda and influence abroad, or even for espionage, as cited by intelligence experts.

The Epoch Times continues, explaining that several Canadian educational systems continue to host CIs even as various groups denounce the programs:

[In 2013,] the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued a statement asking all Canadian universities and colleges to cut ties with the institutes, calling them “essentially political arms of the Chinese government.”

“They restrict the free discussion of topics Chinese authorities deem controversial and should have no place on our campuses,” CAUT said.

...Educational institutions in Canada that continue to host CIs are the British Columbia Institute of Technology (BC), Saint Mary’s University (NS), Dawson College (QC), Carleton University (ON), University of Regina (SK), University of Waterloo (ON), University of Saskatchewan (SK), the Coquitlam School District (BC), Seneca College (ON), and Edmonton Public Schools (AB). 

Earlier this year, The National Post published their own investigation into the Chinese government's ties with CIs:

The Canadian hosts agree to provide office and classroom space and a steady supply of students, and in some cases to promote the program. Most of the contracts also say the Canadian school will provide funding, directly or in kind, at least equal to what the Chinese government contributes.

New Brunswick Education Minister Dominic Cardy began a campaign in 2019 to remove the Confucius Institute from 28 schools after the Chinese government was invited to set up the program under the Liberal premier Shawn Graham in 2008.

A few weeks later, the CBC reported that the Liberals were upset that the communist propaganda arms might be removed, warning the governing Progressive Conservatives that removing CIs would put valuable lobster sales at risk:

The Opposition Liberals said in the legislature that Cardy's move to oust the institute might jeopardize New Brunswick's trade relationship with the lucrative Chinese export market.