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Something to be aware of about China

January 28, 2018

Note: This is an issue in colleges and universities but not, as far as I’ve ever heard, in K-12 programs. But it is real and anyone with kids in a Mandarin immersion program should know about what’s going on, if only to be able to address these issues when others bring them up.

My theory is that knowledge (and language) is power, so by having our kids master Chinese, we’re giving them options – including deciding how they choose to use that power when they grow up.

Another resource if you want to know more is a new book, Spy Schools: How the CIA, FBI and Foreign Intelligence Secretly Exploit America’s Universities by Daniel Golden.

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From Politico Magazine

How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms

Even as they face criticism, Chinese government-run educational institutes have continued their forward march on college campuses across the United States.

 

Last year, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte made an announcement to great fanfare: The university would soon open a branch of the Confucius Institute, the Chinese government-funded educational institutions that teach Chinese language, culture and history. The Confucius Institute would “help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world,” says Nancy Gutierrez, UNC Charlotte’s dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and “broaden the University’s outreach and support for language instruction and cultural opportunities in the Charlotte community,” according to a press release.

But the Confucius Institutes’ goals are a little less wholesome and edifying than they sound—and this is by the Chinese government’s own account. A 2011 speech by a standing member of the Politburo in Beijing laid out the case: “The Confucius Institute is an appealing brand for expanding our culture abroad,” Li Changchun said. “It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”

Li, it now seems, was right to exult. More than a decade after they were created, Confucius Institutes have sprouted up at more than 500 college campuses worldwide, with more than 100 of them in the United States—including at The George Washington University, the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. Overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known colloquially as Hanban, the institutes are part of a broader propaganda initiative that the Chinese government is pumping an estimated $10 billion into annually, and they have only been bolstered by growing interest in China among American college students.

Please read more here.

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