Documentary Reveals How Students in Australia Are Vulnerable Targets
On Tuesday night, a crowd gathered in Victoria’s Parliament House to watch a compelling film that exposes the true intentions of the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” that is the Chinese Communist regime’s global language and culture program, known as the Confucius Institute.
The audience watched intently as the story of Sonia Zhao, a Chinese-born former Mandarin teacher for the Confucius Institute (CI), played out on the big screen.
The film ‘In the Name of Confucius,’ directed by award-winning documentary maker Doris Liu, was followed by a panel discussion about the influence of CIs in Australia and around the world.
Amid an international climate of heightened alert to foreign interference marked by Russian U.S.-election meddling; and closer to home, the dubious CCP-linked “donations” to Australian political leaders, the hidden agenda of the CCP’s CIs have increasingly been called into question.
Zhao, the protagonist in the documentary, was trained as a Mandarin teacher in the CI program in Beijing in 2010. As part of her training, the 24-year-old aspiring teacher was told that it was the CIs policy to avoid topics like the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, and Falun Gong in the classroom, and that if she was pressed by a student for an answer, to just state the party line, said director Liu.
As the daughter of a Falun Gong practitioner and having practiced the spiritual discipline since childhood, Zhao felt conflicted by the provision in the CI contract stipulating that instructors could not be Falun Gong practitioners or associate with them.
However, having already been deemed qualified for the role by the CI, to renege on the job offer without a reason acceptable to the authorities meant possible imprisonment.
Zhao accepted the position in what she considered be an act of self-preservation. She then commenced her role as a CI teacher in Canada.
As they watched “In the Name of Confucius,” the audience followed the story of Zhao’s defection and the complaint that she filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario that led to the first closure of a CI at a North American university campus. Currently there are around 100 CIs in operation in American universities.
Confucius Institutes in Australia
Complaints against CIs range from the blanking out of “sensitive” aspects of China’s communist history in CI textbooks to policies of open discrimination when hiring, and even that the institutes could be used as surveillance hubs on university campuses posing a threat to security.
The NSW Department of Education is currently investigating such concerns about the operation of CIs within the state.
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