Last week, at UMass Boston’s quarterly meeting, a University of Massachussets (UMass) Amherst alum and staff member, and SFT Board member Thondup Tsering urged the Board of Trustees to terminate their Confucius Institute contract. He was joined by Michael Hartt, the school’s music Professor and longtime Amnesty regional coordinator.
Thondup and Professor Hartt spoke powerfully about the threat China’s Confucius Institutes pose to academic freedom, national security and important political and human rights issues.
Thondup outlined one of Beijing’s key objectives for the trustees: “It is widely understood that Confucius Institutes use their foothold in prestigious academic institutions to try to influence and steer academic discourse, and ultimately shape public opinion on issues China considers sensitive, such as Tibet and Taiwan.”
And Professor Hartt explained why he opposes the CI: “I feel it’s highly inappropriate to give Beijing the power to determine curriculum on a U.S. college campus. The Confucius Institute presents a whitewashed version of Chinese history and culture… I think it’s unacceptable to have topics whose discussion is forbidden at UMass.”
Thondup Tsering ended his remarks with a resolute call for the closing of the Confucius Institute: “Considering all of these very serious issues, and considering that UMass Boston is meant to be a university ‘dedicated to rigorous, open, critical inquiry – a gateway to intellectual discovery in all branches of knowledge’ I can see no place for the Chinese government’s Confucius Institute at UMass Boston, nor in the UMass system. I call upon the UMass Board of Trustees to terminate UMass Boston’s partnership with China’s Confucius Institute immediately.”
You can read the full text of Thondup Tsering’s comments here.
As we await word on the final decision on the fate of the Confucius Institute at UMass Boston, we ask that you join the campaign to Say No to Confucius Institutes worldwide. Take action here.