DHARAMSALA, Jan 17: In another setback for China’s controversial Confucius Institute(CI), the University of Massachusetts(UMass) Boston has severed its ties with the institute.
UMass Boston became the 13th academic institutions in the US to have severed ties with the Confucius Institute. Tufts University in Medford may soon join the rank as it is weighing on whether to renew the school’s agreement with its Confucius Institute or not.
Though the university did not give a specific reason over its decision to part ways with the CI, it became a source of controversy on campus and among some Massachusetts politicians as well.
Tibetan students, outside advocates and state representatives urged the UMass Boston to end its contract with the controversial CI, known to censor information and putting college students’ academic freedom at risk.
Katherine Newman, the interim chancellor at UMass Boston has pointed towards the fact that concerns have been raised across the country about Confucius Institutes as the universities split after 12 years.
It is understood that UMass Boston will now pursue negotiations with Renmin University in Beijing on ways to promote the study of Chinese language, culture, and history on campus to replace the CI’s on-campus academic centre funded by the Chinese government.
CI which are funded by Beijing has come under increasing international scrutiny off late. Central part of China’s soft power plan, it aims to improve the global view of China’s authoritarian system.
Rights groups and activists says it threatens academic freedom and free speech. Confucius Institutes aim to censor and silence discussions on important political and human rights issues like Tibet, East Turkestan, Taiwan, Falun Gong and Tiananmen Square.
With a string of closure of CI’s across the world and the governments alike openly attempting to masquerade Confucius Institute as a subvert threat, the real intention of the CI is obvious.