LONDON—Confucius Institutes are touted as educational programs imparting Chinese culture and language, but critics say they promote Chinese Communist Party propaganda and exclude those who follow China’s actual traditional beliefs.
Earlier this year, the UK’s Conservative Party Human Rights Commission launched an investigation into Confucius Institutes (CIs). The results of the inquiry are expected to be published before July this year.
“If it was simply teaching language and promoting culture, I think everyone would welcome that,” said vice-chair of the commission, Benedict Rogers. “But the fact that they are using Communist Party propaganda, and the fact that they are embedded in universities, and influencing the wider academic freedoms of universities is especially concerning.”
“Confucius Institutes bar people with certain religious beliefs or certain political opinions, to be instructors,” said Liu.
She added, “The character in my film Sonia Zhao told me when she had training in Beijing before she was sent to Canada, she was told to avoid those topics, like Tibet, Falun Gong, in their classrooms. If she was chased by the students for an answer, she would just state the party line.”In 2009, former propaganda tzar for the Chinese Communist Party, Li Changchun, described CIs as “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”
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