Madam Xu’s Party Line (Vice Minister Admits the Truth About Confucius Institutes)

Beijing confirms that Confucius Institutes subvert Western academic freedom.

The Wall Street Journal

[Photo caption: Chinese Vice Minister Xu Lin. Zuma Press]

Critics have argued that China’s Confucius Institutes pose a threat to academic freedom in the United States, Canada, Europe and beyond. Now the Beijing official in charge of them has confirmed it.

If you’re new to this issue, the Chinese government has set up 1,100 of these state-run institutes since 2004 to teach language and culture within universities and grade schools world-wide. Now the institutes are facing long overdue scrutiny, and some universities and school districts are closing them down.

On Sunday the BBC interviewed Chinese Vice Minister Xu Lin, director-general of Confucius Institute Headquarters. She confirmed in no uncertain terms that her organization exports the values of the Chinese Communist Party to foreign academic institutions, from Columbia and Stanford to neighborhood elementary schools.

Ms. Xu described how the teachers must file official reports and answer questions about whether they discussed politically sensitive subjects in the classroom. She also confirmed that Beijing forces foreign institutions to deny employment to believers in Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned in China.

We wrote about Ms. Xu this summer, when her staff tore out pages from the program at an academic conference in Portugal. She was offended by the co-sponsorship of a Taiwanese foundation.

Queried about this by the BBC, Ms. Xu was dismissive. “Nobody worried, I was there,” she claimed—even though the European Association for Chinese Studies brought the episode to light as a “totally unacceptable” act of academic bullying.

When the BBC’s John Sudworth pressed on, Ms. Xu became impatient. “I think you shouldn’t ask this question,” she said. “The Taiwan issue is our own issue. It’s a China issue. It’s not a foreign people’s issue.” She demanded that Mr. Sudworth erase their discussion of the “Portugal issue.” Mr. Sudworth refused.

Then Ms. Xu offered perhaps the most revealing statement of all: “Every mainland teacher we send,” she explained, “will say Taiwan belongs to China. We should have one China. No hesitation.”

Earlier this year, U.S. College Board President David Coleman feted Ms. Xu at a conference in Los Angeles. Referring to Ms. Xu’s agency by its Chinese acronym, Hanban, Mr. Coleman gushed: “Hanban is like the sun. It lights the path to develop Chinese teaching in the U.S. The College Board is the moon. I am so honored to reflect the light that we’ve gotten from Hanban.”

Not all scholars and politicians are so credulous. The University of Chicago and Penn State recently closed their Confucius Institutes, while Canada’s largest school district, in Toronto, nixed plans to open one.

Ms. Xu’s comments now challenge the legions of American university and K-12 leaders who have never raised concerns, even as most of them signed secret contracts with Beijing. New Jersey Rep. Chris Smith has pledged to investigate such contracts and examine whether institutions should lose government funds for restricting academic freedom. Such efforts can help, but a broader shift in attitude is needed.

Students deserve opportunities to study Chinese language and culture without wearing ideological blinders provided by Beijing. To the extent that Beijing-backed Confucius Institutes shape instruction in the West, Chinese government interests will increasingly trump academic freedom.

Original article

From FOFG Editor: Below is a list of some of the Confucius Institutes that a supporter provided.  (Source: FOFG encourages website visitors to check to see if their alma maters or current schools are on the list.  If you find yours, please consider sending a copy of this article or a link to it to the school or university, as well as your own concerns.


  • Kabul University


  • University of Tirana


  • National University of La Plata
  • University of Buenos Aires


  • Yerevan State Linguistic University After V.Bryusov 


  • Bangor University
  • Charles Darwin University
  • Confucius Institute in Adelaide
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology
  • State of New South Wales
  • University of Melbourne
  • University of New South Wales
  • University of Newcastle
  • University of Queensland
  • University of Sydney
  • University of Western Australia


  • University of Graz
  • University of Vienna


  • Baku State University


  • The College of the Bahamas


  • University of Bahrain


  • North South University


  • Belarusian State University
  • Minsk State Linguistic University
  • Science and Technology Confucius Institute at Belarusian National Technical University


  • Confucius Institute in Brussels
  • Confucius Institute at GROUP T
  • Confucius Institute in Liege
  • University College West Flanders


  • University of Abomey-Calavi


  • University of San Simon


  • University of Botswana


  • Business Confucius Institute at FAAP
  • Confucius Institute at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
  • Federal University of Rio Grand Do Sul
  • Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro
  • University of Brasilia
  • University of Campinas
  • University of Estadual Paulista
  • University of Pernambuco


  • Confucius Institute in Sofia
  • Confucius Institute at St. Cyril and St. Methodius University of Veliko Turnovo


  • University of Burundi


  • Confucius Institute of Royal Academy of Cambodia


  • University of Yaounde II


  • Brock University
  • Carleton University
  • Confucius Institute at BCIT
  • Confucius Institute in Coquitlam
  • Confucius Institute in Edmonton
  • Confucius Institute in New Brunswick
  • Confucius Institute in Quebec
  • Confucius Institute of Toronto
  • Saint Mary’s University
  • Seneca College
  • University of Regina
  • University of Saskatchewan
  • University of Waterloo


  • Confucius Institute at Catholic University
  • University of Saint Thomas


  • Confucius Institute in Medellin
  • Jorge Tadeo Lozano University
  • University of Los Andes


  • University of Marien NGOUABI

Costa Rica

  • University of Costa Rica


  • University of Zagreb


  • University of Habana

Czech Republic

  • Palacky University


  • Copenhagen Business Confucius Institute
  • Confucius Institute for Innovation & Learning at Aailborg University
  • Royal Danish Academy of Music


  • San Francisco University of Quito


  • Cairo University
  • Suez Cannal University


  • Confucius Institute at National Board for Higher Education


  • Tallinn University


  • Addis Ababa Confucius Institute


  • South Pacific University


  • University of Helsinki


  • Chinese Cultural Center in Paris
  • Confucius Institute in Alsace
  • Confucius Institute in Artois
  • Confucius Institute in Brittany
  • Confucius Institute in Clermont-Ferrand
  • Confucius Institute in La Rochelle
  • Confucius Institute in Montpellier
  • Confucius Institute in Toulouse
  • Confucius Institute of Reunion Island
  • Neoma Business Confucius Institute-Rouen
  • Paris Diderot University
  • Pays de la Loire in Angers
  • University of French Polynesia
  • University of Lorraine
  • University of Poitiers
  • West Paris-Nanterre-La Defense University


  • Free University of Tbilisi


  • Confucius Institute in Bremen
  • Confucius Institute in Hannover
  • Confucius Institute in Munich
  • Confucius Institute Metropolis Ruhr
  • Confucius Institute Nurnberg at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nurnberg
  • Erfurt University of Applied Sciences
  • Frankfurt University
  • Free University of Berlin
  • Trier University
  • University of Duesseldorf
  • University of Freiburg
  • University of Hamburg
  • University of Heidelberg
  • University of Leipzig


  • University of Ghana


  • Business Confucius Institute in Athens


  • University of Guyana

Hong Kong

  • Confucius Institute of Hong Kong


  • Eotvos Lorand University
  • University of Miskolc
  • University of Szeged


  • Northern Light Confucius Institute in Iceland


  • University of Mumbai
  • VIT University


  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at Hasanuddin University
  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at Malang State University
  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at Maranatha Christian University
  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at Tanjungpura University
  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at Universitas Negeri Surabaya
  • Pusat Bahasa Mandarin at University of Al Azhar Indonesia


  • University of Tehran


  • UCD Confucius Institute for Ireland
  • University College Cork in Ireland


  • Hebrew University of Jerusalem
  • Tel Aviv University


  • Confucius Institute in Bologna
  • Confucius Institute of Pisa
  • Oriental University of Napoli
  • UCSC Milan Campus
  • University of Florence
  • University of Macerata
  • University of Milan
  • University of Padova
  • University of Rome La Sapienza
  • University of Turin
  • Venice University


  • University of the West Indies-Mona Campus


  • Aichi University
  • Chinese Medicine Confucius Institute at Hyogo College of Medicine
  • Fukuyama University
  • Hokuriku University
  • J.F. Oberlin University
  • Kansai Gaidai University
  • Kogakuin University
  • North South University
  • Sapporo University
  • Ritsumeikan
  • Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University
  • Okayama Shoka University
  • Osaka Sangyo University
  • Waseda University


  • Ammen TAG Confucius Institute
  • Philadelphia University


  • Aktobe State Pedagogical Institute
  • Eurasian University
  • Kazakh National University
  • National Technical University of Karaganda of Kazakhstan


  • Egerton University
  • Kenyatta University
  • University of Nairobi


  • Andong National University
  • Cheju Halla College
  • Chungbuk National University
  • Chungnam National University
  • Confucius Institute in Seoul
  • Daejin University
  • Dong-A University
  • Dongseo University
  • Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
  • Honam University
  • Kangwon National University
  • Keimyung University
  • Kyung Hee University
  • Sehan University
  • Soon Chun Hyang University
  • University of Incheon
  • Woosong University
  • Woosuk University
  • Yonsei University


  • Bishkek Humanities University
  • Kyrgyz National University
  • Osh State University


  • National University of Laos


  • University of Latvia


  • Confucius Institute at St. Joseph University


  • University of Liberia


  • Vilnius University


  • SS Cyril and Methodius University


  • Antananarivo University


  • Kongzi Institute for the Teaching of Chinese Language at University of Malaya


  • University of Malawi


  • University of Malta


  • Autonomic National University of Mexico
  • Autonomic University of Chihuahua
  • Autonomic University of New Leon
  • Autonomic University of Yucatan
  • Confucius Institute in Mexico City


  • Free International University of Moldova


  • National University of Mongolia


  • University of Hassan II
  • University Mohammed V-Agdal


  • Eduardo Mondlane University


  • University of Namibia


  • Kathmandu University


  • Groningen Confucius Institute
  • Leiden University

New Zealand

  • Confucius Institute in Auckland
  • University of Canterbury
  • Victoria University of Wellington


  • Nnamdi Azikiwe University
  • University of Lagos


  • Confucius Institute in Bergen


  • Confucius Institute in Islamabad
  • University of Karachi


  • Catholic University of Peru
  • Catholic University of Santa Maria
  • Ricardo Palma University
  • University of Piura


  • Angeles University Foundation
  • Ateneo de Manila University
  • Bulacan State University


  • Adam Mickiewicz University
  • Confucius Institute in Krakow
  • Opole University of Technology
  • University of Wroclaw


  • University of Lisbon
  • University of Minho


  • Babes Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca
  • Lucian Blaga University of Sibiu
  • Transilvania University of Brasov
  • University of Bucharest


  • Amur State University of Humanities and Pedagogy
  • Blagoveshchensk National Pedagogical University
  • Buryat State University
  • Confucius Institute at Diplomatic Academy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
  • Far Eastern National University
  • Irkutsk State University
  • Kazan State University
  • Lomonosov Moscow State University
  • Moscow State Linguistic University
  • Nizhny Novgorod State Linguistic University
  • Novosibirsk State University of Technology
  • Russian State University for the Humanities
  • Ryazan State University
  • Saint-Petersburg State University
  • The Kalmyk State University
  • Tomsk State University
  • Ural State University
  • Volgograd State Pedagogical University


  • Kigali Institute of Education


  • University of Dakar


  • Confucius Institute in Belgrade
  • University of Novi Sad

Sierra Leone

  • University of Sierra Leone


  • Nanyang Technological University


  • Confucius Institute in Bratislava


  • University of Ljubljana

South Africa

  • Centre for Chinese Studies
  • Durban University of Technology
  • Rhodes University
  • University of Cape Town


  • Confucius Institute in Barcelona
  • Confucius Institute in Madrid
  • The University of Las Palmas of Gran Canaria
  • Universidad de Leon
  • University of Granada
  • University of Valencia

Sri Lanka

  • University of Kelaniya


  • University of Khartoum


  • Blekinge Institute of Technology
  • Confucius Institute in Lulea
  • Karlstad University
  • Nordic Confucius Institute in Stockholm


  • Confucius Institute in Geneva
  • University of Basel


  • Tajikistan National University


  • University of Dar es Salaam
  • University of Dodoma


  • Bansomdejchaopraya Rajabhat University
  • Betong Municipality
  • Burapha University
  • Chiang Mai University
  • Chulalongkorn University
  • Kasetsart University
  • Khon Kaen University
  • Mae Fah Luang University
  • Mahasarakham University
  • Phuket-Prince of Songkla University
  • Prince of Songkla University
  • Suan Dusit Rajabhat University at Suphanburi


  • University of Lome

Trinidad and Tobage

  • University of the West Indies-St Augustine Campus


  • Bogazici University
  • Middle East Technical University
  • Okan University


  • Kharkiv State University
  • Kiev State Linguistic University
  • Luhansk National Pedagogical University
  • National Taras Shevchenko University of Kiev
  • South Ukranian National Pedagogical University

United Arab Emirates

  • University of Dubai
  • Zayed University

United Kingdom

  • Business Confucius Institute at the University of Leeds
  • Cardiff University
  • Confucius Institute at the Institute of Education, University of London
  • Confucius Institute for Business, London
  • Confucius Institute for Dance and Performance at Goldsmiths, University of London
  • Confucius Institute for Scotland in the University of Edinburgh
  • Confucius Institute for Scotland’s Schools
  • Confucius Institute for Traditional Chinese Medicine, London
  • De Montfort University
  • Edge Hill University
  • Lancaster University
  • London Confucius Institute
  • Scottish Confucius Institute for Business and Communication at Heriot Watt University
  • University of Aberdeen
  • University of Central Lancashire
  • University of Glasgow
  • University of Liverpool
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Nottingham
  • University of Sheffield
  • University of Southampton
  • University of Ulster
  • University of Wales Trinity Saint David
  • University of Wales-Lampeter

United States

  • Alfred University
  • Arizona State University
  • Auburn University at Montgomery
  • Broward County Public Schools
  • Bryant University
  • Central Connecticut State University
  • Cleveland State University
  • College of William & Mary
  • Colorado State University
  • Community College of Denver
  • Confucius Institute at China Institute
  • Confucius Institute at Columbia University
  • Confucius Institute for Business at State University of New York
  • Confucius Institute in Atlanta
  • Confucius Institute in Chicago
  • Confucius Institute in Indianapolis
  • Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at the State University of New York at Binghamton
  • East Central Ohio Educational Service Center
  • George Mason University
  • George Washington University
  • Georgia Regents University
  • Georgia State University
  • Houston Independent School District
  • Kennesaw State University
  • Miami University
  • Miami Dade College
  • Michigan State University
  • Middle Tennessee University
  • New Mexico State University
  • North Carolina State University
  • Old Dominion University
  • Pace University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Pfeiffer University
  • Portland State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Presbyterian College
  • Purdue University
  • Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey
  • San Diego State University
  • San Francisco State University
  • St. Cloud State University
  • Stanford University
  • State College of Optometry-State University of New York
  • State of Washington
  • State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Stony Brook University
  • Texas A&M University
  • Texas Southern University
  • Troy University
  • Tulane University
  • University at Albany, State University of New York
  • University of Akron
  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Arizona
  • University of California-Davis
  • University of California-Los Angeles
  • University of Central Arkansas
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Idaho
  • University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • University of Iowa
  • University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Kentucky
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Massachusetts Confucius Institute at Boston
  • University of Memphis
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Minnesota
  • University of Missouri
  • University of Montana
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • University of New Hampshire
  • University of Oklahoma
  • University of Oregon
  • University of Pittsburgh
  • University of Rhode Island
  • University of South Carolina
  • University of South Florida
  • University of Southern Maine
  • University of Tennessee
  • University of Texas at Dallas
  • University of Texas at San Antonio
  • University of Toledo
  • University of Utah
  • University of West Florida
  • University of Wisconsin-Platteville
  • Valparaiso University
  • Wayne State University
  • Webster University
  • West Kentucky University
  • Wesleyan College
  • Western Michigan University
  • Xavier University of Louisiana


  • Confucius Institute in Tashkent
  • Samarkand State Institute of Foreign Languages


  • University of Zambia


  • University of Zimbabwe