(TibetanReview.net, Oct04, 2014) – The agency driving China’s projection of soft power on the world stage, the Confucius Institute, has suffered another jolt in a week with the Pennsylvania State University, USA, saying Oct 1 that it would end its five-year relationship with the institute at the end of this year, reported Reuters Oct 2. The university has cited difference with the Chinese government agency that controls and funds what is seen as a propaganda arm wrapped in culture and language education, for the decision.
“Several of our goals are not consistent with those of the Office of Chinese Languages Council International, known as the Hanban, which provides support to Confucius Institutes throughout the world,” Susan Welch, dean of the College of Liberal Arts at Penn State, was quoted as saying.
Earlier, on Sep 25, the University of Chicago had severed ties with the institute, saying a high-ranking official with the Hanban agency had told a Chinese language newspaper that the agency would prevail in ongoing negotiations with the university.
Professors at both the University of Chicago and Penn State had complained that the institutes were too closely tied to the Chinese government, which views them as “soft power” propaganda tools.
The United States has nearly 500 Confucius Institutes which provide funds and offer programs to universities and public school systems, and there are hundreds more around the globe, the report noted.
Also, in Canada this week, some trustees of the Toronto District School Board said they would introduce a motion to cancel the rollout of a planned Confucius Institute there, the report added.