Friday, January 19, 2018

China Is Infiltrating Our Public Classrooms--Here's How

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Last year, when the University of North Carolina opened its new "Confucius Institute," it was with a great amount of fanfare.

"This," the university said, "will help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world."

Chinese government funded "Confucius Institutes" are being opened in public universities and high schools, across the US.

You've heard the phrase, "You can't tell a book by its cover?"

Well, you can't.

Nancy Gutierrez, UNC Charlotte's dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, said in a press release, the Confucius Institute will "help students be better equipped to succeed in an increasingly globalized world" and the Institute "will broaden the University's outreach and support for language instruction and cultural opportunities in the Charlotte community."

Every time one of these institutes are opened, the press release says the same thing.

However, these Chinese government funded "Institutes" are not at all as presented.

In fact in 2011, in a speech by a standing member of the Politburo in Beijing, the real purpose of the institutes was laid out in plain sight.

Li Changchun said, "It has made an important contribution for expanding our culture abroad. It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The 'Confucius' brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical."

So, what is the "everything" Li refers to?

POLITICO, not a conservative news organization, has looked into this matter and what they have found is disturbing.

More than a decade after this project was started, Confucius Institutes have sprouted up in more than 500 campuses worldwide, with more than 100 of them here in the US.

They are overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known as "Hanban." The institutes are part of a broader propaganda initiative that the Chinese government is pumping an estimated $10 billion into annually, and they are bolstered by growing interest in China among American college students.

Here's the problem.

Confucius Institutes teach a Beijing approved revisionist view of both their culture and history that ignores the human rights issues in China and they teach that Taiwan and Tibet belong to mainland China.

This is why Politico is interested.

However, this opens another question that is equally important to conservatives. At least to me.

While these universities will burn down a campus to block the appearance of a conservative or, God forbid, biblical Christian speaker, they seem to take no consideration that these "institutes" are advocating for a regime and government that consistently abuse human rights---the root virtue of these very campuses.

Does this affirm that the colleges are only open minded to far Left ideologies and discussion?

Most of us know that's true. Free speech is not free or tolerated on most public campuses.

While universities are shielding their snowflake students from the trauma and anxiety of conservative or Christian speakers, the door is open to the Chinese government, a government that systematically abuses human rights and their message.

Is it the money? Are these taxpayer-funded colleges and universities willing to celebrate China's propaganda machine if the price is right?


Here's how that part works.

The Hanban has been very shrewd in dealing with the colleges. Much like the Chinese government has been in dealing with our own government regarding the trade imbalance. Until now.

Marshall Sahlins, a retired University of Chicago anthropologist and author, has written a pamphlet titled, "Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware."

He says each Confucius Institute comes with a $100,000 startup check provided by the Hanban. Each year for 5 years the college continues to get the annual $100,000 check.

In addition, the Hanban subsidizes instruction, including the airfares and salaries of the teachers provided from China. Hanban also agrees to send textbooks, videos, and other classroom materials for these courses---courses that are often welcome in colleges that have no important China studies of their own.

Sahlins says they're kind of like restaurant franchises: Open the kit, and you're in business. American universities can continue to collect full tuition from their students while essentially outsourcing instruction in Chinese. In other words, it's free money for the schools.

He says, "At many (though not all) Confucius-hosting campuses, students can receive course credit for classes completed at the institute."

One of the many problems with this Chinese scheme is that they go to great length to obscure their political purpose.

First, there's the name. Secular Americans tend to associate Confucius with wisdom. They have chosen to brand "Confucius" rather than say, "Mao."

The institutes also offer a lot of fun activities, like dumpling making and tai chi. And they invite the public to join them.

The University of Chicago, to its credit, has stood against the trend. In 2010 they opened a Confucius Institute. As they became aware of some of the issues associated with these institutes, some instructors led an effort to close the institute.

Bruce Lincoln, a now retired professor at Chicago, served on the faculty senate at the time. He told his colleagues and the public the Confucius Institute represented the "subcontracting [of the] educational mission" in the United States---and he called it "a hostile takeover of US higher education by a foreign power."

When the Hanban contract came up for renewal in 2014, the university canceled it. Penn State did the same.

However, most universities are not. Many are allowing this Chinese propaganda machine to expand.

None more than in Washington State. In fact, Washington State is the first to have a statewide Confucius Institute organization. The state offices are located on the University of Washington campus with outreach operations throughout the state.

Currently, they are running a recruitment contest designed to get more kids into their program.

The amount of influence these operations have on college campuses is very concerning.

Perhaps even more so is the fact that the Confucius Institutes are now expanding into high schools.

They call them "Confucius Classrooms."

In October, local media reported that 3 new "classrooms" would be planted in Texas public schools. Several are open, or soon to open in Massachusetts. And they're growing overseas.

Confucius Classrooms are also being opened in Washington State.

The Economist confirms that China is spending at least $10 billion per year on this propaganda effort.

It's not difficult to see how the Chinese government is using this near-unfettered access to America's kids.

The irony is not that China probed and found a weakness in our public education system. It's wrought with weaknesses.

The irony is that the weakness was money.

The Chinese operatives seem to have a better grasp on financial imperatives then we capitalists.

And they know a Trojan Horse when they see one.

Be Informed. Be Vigilant. Be Engaged. Be Prayerful.