(TibetanReview.net, Mar18’21) – More than 100 people held a demonstration on the street in front of the Tufts University Confucius Institute in the US state of Massachusetts on Mar 13, calling for University President Anthony Monaco to shut down the Chinese party-state-sponsored facility, reported thesomervilletimes.com Mar 17. Many Confucius Institutes in the US have been forced to shut down recently, but many others are still operating in the country.
The participants included elected officials, organizers, students and supporters of the Free Tibet, East Turkestan, Hong Kong movements.
The report said this was the thirteenth “Solidarity Saturday,” in which activists called for the closure of the Confucius Institute. The protesters have vowed not to stop until Tufts terminates its contract with the CCP.
The report noted that over 600 letters had already been sent to President Monaco, the mayors of Somerville and Medford, as well as to the staff of US Representative Ayanna Pressley, in order to raise awareness for the actions of the CCP and its vested interests in Tufts University.
“This demonstration is a struggle to kick out the Chinese Government from the Tufts University campus,” Advocacy Officer for the Tibetan Association of Boston Olo Bayul was quoted as saying. “The Confucius Institute is funded and arranged directly by the CCP, and we will be here every Saturday to let Anthony Monaco and the Tufts leadership know it is unacceptable for a totalitarian regime to be working openly in our backyard.”
Bayul has said Confucius Institutes had been termed as soft power machines for the Chinese government that operate by disseminating state propaganda and suppresses academic freedom with the ultimate goal of influencing public opinion away from the image of the CCP as an oppressive regime.
“These protests are raising awareness for the human rights violations committed by the Chinese government and calling on Tufts to cut ties with the Chinese state-run Confucius Institute, just as UMass Boston and many other universities have done over the past several years,” Somerville City Councilor Ben Ewen-Campen has said.
Bayul has said the CCP contractually obligates universities who enter a partnership through Confucius Institutes. Not only do these contracts give unusual privileges to the Chinese government, but the CCP is responsible for the curriculum and hiring process of Confucius Institute faculty.
The report noted that while 40 Confucius Institutes around the nation had been shut down due to tightening regulations from federal legislation, about 80 Confucius Institutes were still operating in the United States.