(TibetanReview.net, Jun06, 2015) – Germany’s Stuttgart Media University has shut down its China-backed Confucius Institute at the urging of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT), reported freebeacon.com Jun 4. SFT, which is headquartered in New York and has a network of units in schools, colleges and universities across the free world, has been carrying out a “Say No to China’s Confucius Institutes” campaign for the last several months.
The report noted that this was the ninth instance of a university abandoning ties with the Institute; other schools that had cut ties included the University of Chicago and Penn State in the USA. The campaign has been carried out not only by Tibetan and Tibet campaign groups but also human rights activists and academics concerned with freedom of speech and expression, including especially academic freedom.
Confucius institutes, set up in schools and higher educational institutions across the world, are run by a unit of the Ministry of Education of the Peoples Republic of China with an ostensible aim to “promote Chinese language and culture”. In exchange for providing fund, the institutes have to accept propaganda trained Chinese government teachers and teaching materials and adhere to China’s official versions about issues like human rights, religious freedom, and history.
The report cited Tenzin Dolkar, the executive director of SFT, as saying Stuttgart’s separation from the Confucius Institute was a victory for human rights. “Allowing the Chinese government to assume authority on human rights in China and on Tibet on our campuses poses a serious threat to academic freedom. We congratulate Stuttgart Media University for taking this step to protect its academic integrity,” she was quoted as saying.
Stuttgart is the first of 16 in Germany to terminate their problematic partnership with the Chinese government backed Confucius Institute, she has said.