(TibetanReview.net, Apr26, 2015) – New York-headquartered Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) has on Apr 24 launched an international campaign against China’s growing network of Confucius Institutes in universities and schools across the world. Their campaign, “Protect Academic Freedom – Say No to Confucius Institutes”, comes after major universities in the US, Canada and Sweden ditched the institutes amid concerns they were functioning as propaganda tools, reported heraldscotland.com Apr 24.
China is accused of using the setting up, with providing of the teaching staff, and funding of the Confucius institutes – which, on the face of it, teach Chinese culture and language – as a propaganda tool, stymieing academic freedom and censoring views not approved by the communist party of China. The teachers provided by Beijing are trained to stick to party lines on issues such as Tibet, Hong Kong and Taiwan while the host educational institutions exercise self-censorship in order not to displease Beijing.
Giving an example of such suppression, SFT has noted that a Tibetan student in Canada was told not to display occupied Tibet’s national flag in case it offended the Chinese funders. “My family fled Tibet because of the Chinese government’s oppression,” the student, Tenzin Dechen, was quoted as saying.
“Never did I imagine they would find a way to silence my voice through the Confucius Institute at my own university here in Canada. I fear that countless students worldwide studying at universities hosting a Confucius Institute are being left vulnerable to a censored education system,” the student was further quoted as saying.
The report noted that several Canadian universities had dropped Confucius Institutes, including Toronto School Board after a major scandal.
Another Tibet group, London-based Free Tibet, has expressed fears that Scottish schools with Confucius Classrooms will whitewash China’s human rights record.