美国国防部停止资助设立孔子学院的大学中文项目

2019-05-01
电邮
评论
Share
打印
美国一所大学的孔子学院(微博截图)
美国一所大学的孔子学院(微博截图)

出于对国家安全的担忧,美国国防部决定终止对设立孔子学院的美国高校提供中文教学项目的资助。受此影响,最近又有三所美国大学决定关闭孔子学院。

美国《新闻周刊》杂志日前报道,国防部的这一决定,有可能导致更多的美国高校关闭孔子学院。随着美国政界开始更多地关注中共在美国进行渗透的努力,由中国政府资助的孔子学院,也因试图限制学术自由而受到批评。美国国会去年通过的一项支出法案终止了五角大楼对设有孔子学院的美国高校中文教学项目的资助,除非拿到国防部的豁免。目前提出豁免申请的13个学校全部遭到拒绝。

报道说,美国西肯塔基大学上周宣布,因为没能得到国防部的豁免,它决定关闭本校的孔子学院。在过去几个月间,印第安纳大学 (Indiana University)、罗德岛大学 (University of Rhode Island) 、明尼苏达大学 (University of Minnesota) 都陆续宣布他们将关闭各自的孔子学院,并确认,是受到五角大楼的影响。

 

 

孔子学院隶属于中国教育部属下的“国家汉办”,由中共宣传部门资助。中国政府主要负责孔子学院的课程、活动、开支和员工事宜。据报道,中国政府还要求教师们在合同中承诺,将不损害国家利益。美国学者、《中国即将崩溃》一书作者章家敦 (Gordon Chang) 在接受本台记者采访时表示,五角大楼做出了正确的决定,而美国高校最近也在相继关闭孔子学院,因为他们越发意识到孔子学院的潜在威胁:

“五角大楼做出了正确的决定。美国曾有107家左右孔子学院,但近年来这个数字开始明显减少,因为设有孔子学院的高校们开始受到来自各方的压力,不仅是国防部和政府方面的,而且很多高校本身开始认识到,孔子学院表面上是属于中国教育部,但实际上中共统战部的分支。而且孔子学院试图限制学术自由的事件也有所发生。人们意识到,不能让中共来影响美国校园里的学术自由”

五角大楼自2002年以来一直在资助各大学的语言旗舰项目,以协助学生精通阿拉伯语、中文、朝鲜语、波斯语、葡萄牙语、俄语以及土耳其语。这是国家安全教育项目的一部分,旨在为美国的几个国家安全机构培养一批语言人才。

美国国会、政府一致不信任孔院

《新闻周刊》的报道说,美国参议院常设调查小组委员会(Senate's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations) 今年2月发布的一项调查强调,孔子学院的政府资助背景,使之很有可能威胁学术自由。的确,多名美国高校官员向该委员会表示,孔子学院并不是一个可以讨论类似台湾独立、1989年天安门屠杀等敏感议题的场所。

美国联邦调查局局长克里斯托弗.雷去年在参议院情报委员会 (Senate Intelligence Committee) 作证时曾表示,他们对孔子学院有所担忧,并一直在警惕地注视着美国高校的孔子学院。在有些情况下,还启动了相应的调查步骤。他指出,关闭孔子学院的最主要利益在于,那将消除对校园里学术自由的一个潜在威胁。

中国政府官员也曾承认,孔子学院在国际上推广中国软实力和推动其舆论宣传方面发挥了关键的作用。海外中文政论网刊《北京之春》的荣誉主编胡平表示,他赞同五角大楼的决定,因为孔子学院虽然名义上是教汉语的,但它实际上是中共大外宣政策的一个工具:

“孔子学院名义上是打着中国古代著名思想家孔子的招牌,说的是教汉语,但实际上,它体现的是中共的大外宣政策。它在课堂上对讲课内容加以限制、不让在孔子学院谈及中共认定的敏感词和禁止话题,更不用说还在课堂上宣讲中共的观点等。此外,孔子学院在美国的设立,是美中所谓文化交流的一个很不对等的表现。”

18个月中,十多所孔院被关

另据专门报道美国高校事务的网刊《高等教育内幕》5月1日报道,旧金山州立大学 (San Francisco State University) 和俄勒冈大学 (University of Oregon) 也已宣布将关闭各自的孔子学院。孔子学院最初于2004年在美国设立,鼎盛时期在美国各地的大学设立了一百多家孔子学院。但最近18个月里,已有十几所孔子学院相继关闭。

记者:希望   责编:申铧     网编:瑞哲

评论 (2)
Share

匿名游客

Home>World
Propaganda in the name of Confucius
China is using educational institutes in 154 countries to spread its influence and threaten academic freedom
Benedict Rogers
China

April 24, 2019

A Chinese volunteer teacher interacts with local students at Ban Nongping Elementary School in Vientiane, Laos, March 25, 2019. Ban Nongping Elementary School was established in 2013 with aid from China. (Xinhua/Wang Jingqiang/MaxPPP)

China is waging a global propaganda war in an attempt to silence overseas critics at a time when it has unleashed the most repressive crackdown on internal dissent since the Tiananmen Square massacre 30 years ago.

Its soldiers include Chinese state media reporters, diplomats and students studying overseas, recruited to do the bidding of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The most recent example has been the decision by the London School of Economics to adjust the depiction of Taiwan on a sculpture after pressure from Chinese students.

Its weapons include political infiltration and influence, a global media outfit, threats and aggression towards activists abroad, an attempt to hijack and derail the human rights agenda at the United Nations, and — as some are slowly realizing — deploying hundreds of innocuous-sounding language and culture institutions embedded in universities and schools.

China's Confucius Institutes, which on the surface appear to be simply an equivalent of the British Council, American Center, Alliance Francaise or Germany's Goethe Institutes, are now present in at least 548 universities and 1,193 schools in 154 countries. With a US$314 million budget, 46,200 teachers and 1.7 million students, China aims to have 1,000 Confucius Institutes by 2020 in what it calls a "Confucius revolution."

South Korea opened the world's first Confucius Institute in 2004, and it now has 23, the most in Asia. Thailand, second in the region, has 16 Confucius Institutes, while Japan has 15. Indonesia has seven and India, Pakistan, the Philippines and Malaysia have four, but Confucius Institutes also exist in Singapore, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Mongolia, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

Britain has at least 29, the second-largest number in the world after the United States, in major universities such as Edinburgh, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Nottingham, Cardiff and University College London, along with 148 Confucius "classrooms" in schools around the country.

Confucius Institutes purport to teach Chinese language and culture, which is surely welcome. As China takes its place as a world superpower, we need to understand its history and culture, and we need more people to speak the language. But scratch the surface and you find that it is not all they do. They also represent a potential threat to academic freedom and freedom of expression in educational institutions and democracies.

About 12 years ago, the CCP's propaganda chief at the time, Li Changchun, described Confucius Institutes as "an important part of China's overseas propaganda set-up." In 2010, Xu Lin, director-general of a unit of China's education ministry known as the Hanban, confirmed that the party wanted to expand its influence and Confucius Institutes were an important part of China's soft power.
Confucius Institutes are directly controlled, funded and staffed by the Hanban, which is currently chaired by Sun Chunlan, a Politburo member who previously headed the United Front Work Department, the party's principal propaganda outfit.

China's propaganda minister Liu Yunshan said in 2010 that "overseas propaganda should be comprehensive, multi-level and wide-ranging ··· We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes." Even President Hu Jintao, Xi Jinping's predecessor, endorsed the institutes as a way "to cultivate and prepare a group (or army) of people to make sure the CCP will be in power in the future ··· and increase our CCP influence around the world."

Earlier this year Britain's Conservative Party Human Rights Commission published a report based on an inquiry into Confucius Institutes. It draws on evidence from experts, and from the documentary film In the Name of Confucius, and its conclusion is that Confucius Institutes threaten academic freedom and freedom of expression, and represent — as the CCP itself says — an endeavor by the Chinese regime to spread its propaganda and suppress its critics beyond its borders.

This conclusion is consistent with that reached by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and intelligence agencies in Canada and Belgium. In 2018, the CIA cautioned against Chinese funding to universities in exchange for academic censorship, and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) told the Senate Intelligence Committee that Confucius Institutes are under investigation.

Congress has introduced legislation strengthening requirements for transparency of foreign funding for universities, requiring Confucius Institutes to register with the Department of Justice as agents of the Chinese government. And Canada's former Asia-Pacific intelligence chief Michael Juneau-Katsuya claims that Confucius Institutes are linked to China's intelligence services and "represent a clear and undeniable menace to our society."

Confucius Institutes have one common theme: the total suppression of discussion of three topics beginning with 'T' — Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan.

Rachelle Peterson, policy director of the U.S.-based National Association of Scholars, says that Confucius Institutes represent a "subversive political agenda overseen by the Chinese government," while Nottingham Trent University lecturer Tao Zhang says that they "are strategically located in various foreign universities, allowing the Chinese authorities to gain a foothold for the exercise of control over the study of China."

They are, she adds, "an extension of the Chinese education system, directly controlled by the state and having the same ideological and propaganda roles as schools and universities in China."

Examples abound of universities withdrawing invitations to controversial speakers under pressure from China, or removing certain publications.

In 2014, at a European Association for Chinese Studies conference in Portugal, Hanban director-general Xu Lin confiscated all the printed programs and ordered pages advertising a Taiwanese co-sponsor to be removed. Similarly, a book published by a Confucius Institute completely censored an entire section about Chinese dissident Wu Lihong's environmental activism in a chapter by China expert Isabel Hilton. Invitations to the Dalai Lama have been withdrawn or moved off campus.
Discrimination against personal beliefs

Perhaps most chilling is the alleged discrimination in hiring practices in Confucius Institutes. According to the National Association of Scholars, Hanban eligibility criteria for Confucius Institute teachers has included that they should "have no record of participation in Falun Gong."

Sonia Zhao, a Chinese teacher who practiced Falun Gong, a Buddha-school spiritual movement, was employed by Hanban and sent to the Confucius Institute at McMaster University in Canada. Prior to going to Canada, she was given a three-month training course in Beijing. "We were told to tell the students that there is only one China, Taiwan is part of China, ··· Tibet is part of China ··· We were told not to talk about issues like Taiwan and Tibet," she says.

"We also had to sign a contract. In the contract it says that 'we can't be Falun Gong practitioners' ··· This contract takes effect in all Confucius Institutes in all countries. This contract shows discrimination against teachers' personal beliefs and this is how they violated freedom of belief worldwide."

In 2011, Sonia Zhao alerted McMaster University to these concerns. She was afraid that, if she admitted to being a Falun Gong practitioner, she would be punished. As a result of her complaint, McMaster University terminated its relationship with the Hanban and closed its Confucius Institute. Since then, others have followed suit. At least 30 universities and one school board have or will cut ties with Confucius Institutes.

Confucius Institutes are by no means China's only soft power tool. But when combined with the Chinese Students and Scholars Associations, they represent a powerful menace to academic freedom. They also serve to keep an eye on Chinese students studying abroad, who might otherwise find freedom of thought and expression appealing.

As Prof. Christopher Hughes of the London School of Economics says in a paper on the subject, when the LSE opened a Confucius Institute in 2006, "Chinese students ··· revealed that they were disappointed to arrive at a foreign university only to discover that their own government had established an organization on campus that made it feel as though they were still under the kind of surveillance that they had to live with in China." One student told Prof. Hughes that the Confucius Institute felt like closed-circuit television and "has the potential to scare away my critical thinking.".

So what should be done? Clearly, we cannot disengage with China. But as the UK's House of Commons foreign affairs committee report published last week argues, we need to recalibrate our relationship and put national security first.

As part of that recalibration, we should be re-examining not only the balance of trade versus human rights, and the security concerns around Huawei, and the questions of political influence detailed in a recent Royal United Services Institute report and in Clive Hamilton's excellent book in the Australian context, Silent Invasion, but also the question of Confucius Institutes.

"I know the pressure and fear," says Sonia Zhao. "No one deserves that. I hope Confucius Institutes can be closed so that teachers can teach Chinese language freely and students can learn about the real China and Chinese culture, not the Chinese communists' culture."

If we are unwilling to go as far as to close Confucius Institutes just yet, we should at least consider measures similar to the U.S. legislation — conduct a thorough review, suspend any new deals with Confucius Institutes until a review is complete, and ensure measures are in place to guarantee academic freedom and freedom of expression, non-discrimination and complete transparency of funding sources.

We would do well to remember the words of retired British diplomat Roger Garside, who says that "academic freedom is inherently compromised by permitting a state agency controlled by the Communist Party of China to establish a teaching operation in any school or university."

Or, as Rachelle Peterson says, "there is a threat not only to the integrity of our institutions today but more importantly to the future of higher education and the future of all free countries." That, surely, is reason to act.

Benedict Rogers is deputy chairman of the Conservative Party Human Rights Commission. He is also East Asia team leader at international human rights organization CSW and chairman of Hong Kong Watch

2019-05-02 08:20

匿名游客

美国国家学者协会(National Association of Acaders)政策主任雷切尔·彼得森(Rachelle Peterson)表示,孔子学院代表着“由中国政府监督的颠覆性政治议程”,而诺丁汉特伦特大学(Nottingham Trent University)讲师陶章(Tao Zhang)则表示,它们“在战略上位于多所外国大学,允许中国人授权。”争取在中国研究中获得控制权的优先权。”

她补充说,这是“中国教育体系的延伸,由国家直接控制,与中国的学校和大学具有相同的思想和宣传作用。”

许多大学在来自中国的压力下撤回对有争议的演讲人的邀请,或删除某些出版物。

2014年,在葡萄牙举行的欧洲汉语学习协会会议上,汉办主任徐林没收了所有印刷的节目,并下令删除台湾共同赞助机构的广告页。同样,孔子学院出版的一本书在中国专家伊莎贝尔·希尔顿的一章中对中国持不同政见者吴立红的环保行动进行了全面审查。对达赖喇嘛的邀请已被撤回或移出校园。

2019-05-02 08:18

完整网站