Massachusetts colleges asked to shut Chinese gov’t-run propaganda-oriented ties

US Representative Seth Moulton. (Photo courtesy: (Drew Angerer / Boston Globe)
US Representative Seth Moulton. (Photo courtesy: (Drew Angerer / Boston Globe)

(, Mar15, 2018) – US Representative Seth Moulton has urged two colleges in Massachusetts to cut ties with on-campus institutes that have ties to the Chinese government, promote censorship and undermine human rights, reported the Mar 9.

It said Moulton, a Democrat representing Salem, had sent letters during the week to Tufts University and UMass Boston, asking them to disassociate with the Confucius Institute, which operates centers on both campuses. Confucius Institutes are cultural education organizations run by an arm of the Chinese government and teach the country’s party propaganda alongside language and cultural programs.

“The Chinese government has been clear in its goal and purpose for creating and expanding Confucius Institutes throughout the country, namely to distort academic discourse on China, threaten and silence defenders of human rights, and create a climate intolerant of dissent or open discussion,” Moulton was quoted as having written.

He was also reported to have sent the letter to 38 other colleges in Greater Boston that do not yet have Confucius Institutes, discouraging them from ever opening one.

“Ample opportunities and avenues exist to learn about the rich, historic Chinese culture and language through other means instead of an undemocratic government’s effort to restrict free expression and open dialogue on American college campuses,” Moulton was quoted as having written.

The report noted that the month before, FBI director Chris Wray had said his agency was concerned about the institutes and was monitoring them. US Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, had also sent a letter to a college in his district last month, urging it to cut ties with the institute.

Moulton has pointed out: “Students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members have raised concerns publicly and with my office about the Institute’s activities and efforts to sow government influence and in UMass Boston’s case, urged university leadership not to renew their agreement.”

The report noted that unlike cultural institutes run by other foreign governments, such as the stand-alone L’Alliance Française and Goethe-Institut, the Confucius Institutes were located on American campuses. It said there were currently 525 Confucius Institutes in 142 countries, including 110 in the US.


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