Confucius Says’ “Beware of Institutions Bearing My Name” By James Reed

     The National Director sent me this email link about how the Confucius Institutes are wormed into many Australian universities. A little Googling indicates that these are basically Communist Party propaganda centres. Here is substantiation from the mainstream media:

“In recent years, the deepening of Australia’s engagement with China (our most important trade partner) has exacerbated concerns over the motivations and consequences of its government’s influence in Australian political and economic life – and understandably so. Nowhere is the increasing levels of interdependence between China and Australia more evident than in Australia’s academic landscape. Chinese organisations and individuals with alleged ties to government agencies face accusations of facilitating censorship, undue influence, and collaboration with the Chinese military in sensitive research and development programs. Australia is right to investigate areas of concern, but much of the public criticism concerning Chinese individuals and organisations has notably lacked evidence and instead focused upon China’s authoritarian domestic governance. In this context, the Confucius Institutes have come under particular scrutiny for their potential to be organisational agents of influence for the Chinese Communist Party. While there have been many serious allegations made against Confucius Institutes and much work on the broader affairs of the CCP, there has been little scrutiny of the organisational structure of the Confucius Institutes. Yet, such an analysis would be the first step in understanding their true nature and purpose. Are the Confucius Institutes covert vehicles for the Chinese government to subvert, bully, and pressure host countries with a view to promoting self-censorship? Or are they simply legitimate organs of the Chinese state’s efforts to project its interest abroad? Our argument is that the Confucius Institutes should be taken at face value. The Confucius Institutes are not-for-profit bodies tasked with running classes and events to promote Chinese language and culture in foreign education institutions across the world. There is little to any meaningful scope for the Chinese state to exercise covert influence over these organisations.”

     Really? Maybe the above author should look at the fine print:

“Australian universities hosting Chinese government-funded education centres have signed agreements explicitly stating they must comply with Beijing's decision-making authority over teaching at the facilities. Eleven previously undisclosed contracts between the universities and Hanban, the Beijing-based headquarters that funds and oversees the global network of Confucius Institutes, shed light on the different approaches taken to safeguarding academic freedom and autonomy under the lucrative arrangements. Agreements signed by the University of Queensland, Griffith University, La Trobe University and Charles Darwin University state in identical clauses that they "must accept the assessment of the [Confucius Institute] Headquarters on the teaching quality" at their centres. The wording, which does not place any qualifications on Hanban's overriding authority, appears to hand Beijing more control than versions signed by other universities and will fan concerns about the institutes, which are a key plank of the Chinese Communist Party's global soft power effort.

“The Australian government is becoming increasingly concerned about the influence of the Chinese government on Australian university campuses. Last week the attorney-general announced that there would be an investigation into whether agreements between Australian tertiary education institutions and Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes are in violation of Australian’s new anti-foreign interference laws. The Foreign Influence Transparency Scheme was created in December last year. It was designed to create a publicly accessible register detailing all persons or organizations operating in Australia that act on behalf of a foreign government, a foreign political organization, or an organization related to a foreign government entity. However, none of the 14 Confucius Institutes currently operating in Australia submitted themselves to the register. Meanwhile, entities such as the United States Study Center, funded by the U.S Department of State and operating out of the University of Sydney, are on the register. With the Confucius Institutes an arm of China’s Ministry of Education, their absence is conspicuous. The move to pay closer attention to the operations of Confucius Institutes in Australian universities coincided with an incident at the University of Queensland last week in which students demonstrating their support of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong clashed with students from mainland China. The pro-Hong Kong students claimed that they were punched, insulted, and had their placards ripped up by students from mainland China.

The situation escalated into a diplomatic incident when the Chinese consulate-general in Brisbane praised the actions of the mainland Chinese students as “acts of patriotism.” Australian Foreign Minister,Marise Payne then issued a statement that warned foreign diplomats to respect Australia’s rights of free speech and right to protest, even over sensitive issues. Payne stated that “The government would be particularly concerned if any foreign diplomatic mission were to act in ways that could undermine such rights, including by encouraging disruptive or ¬potentially violent behavior.” This incident will add further fuel to the debate in Australia about whether the country’s universities are becoming too reliant on revenue from Chinese students, and whether this may influence their actions. Education has become Australia’s fourth largest export, and in 2018 255,896 Chinese students studied in Australia, making up almost a third of the total international student numbers (although students are locally based, their fees and living expenses are considered export revenue). There remains an ever-present fear that annoying the Chinese government in any way may lead to Beijing taking steps to reduce the number of students coming to study in Australia.”

“Australian universities are being investigated over their contracts with Chinese-state run Confucius Institutes, officials said on Thursday (Jul 25), amid fresh revelations over the scope of Beijing’s control of teaching in the centres. Attorney-General Christian Porter said the government was looking at whether deals between thirteen Australian universities and the Confucius Institutes breach new foreign interference laws. The organisation – which has been likened to France’s Alliance Francaise, Spain’s Instituto Cervantes and the British Council – teaches students about Chinese language and culture.”

“Last week, an eight-month US Senate sub-committee investigation released its final report into the activities of Confucius Institutes on US campuses. It said that far from being independent centres of learning promoting language classes and Chinese history, the centres were tightly controlled arms of the Chinese Government and questioned whether employees should be registered as foreign agents. China responded by calling the findings "baseless accusations" and an attempt to politicise the institutes, which provide academic learning centres for cultural exchange, partnerships and language lessons. Following a string of incidents at Australian universities over the last few years and an ongoing review into the NSW Confucius classrooms program that runs language and culture lessons in primary and high schools, there has been renewed focus on the institute's role here.”

     This is just another example of how the universities have become Un-Australian occupied territories, and need to be closed down, and rebuilt from the ground up, for national security, if we are going to have a nation left at all, which is unlikely.



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