FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 13, 2020
Contact [English and Tibetan language]:
Dorjee Tseten | 646-753-3889 | Dorjee@StudentsforaFreeTibet.org
THE LEGISLATION WOULD REQUIRE GREATER TRANSPARENCY FROM AMERICAN UNIVERSITIES THAT HOST CONFUCIUS INSTITUTES
On Thursday, March 12, 2020, US Senator Marsha Blackburn, along with four Co-sponsors (Senators Hawley, Cotton, R. Scott, and Lankford) introduced the ‘‘Transparency for Confucius Institutes’’ Act. This legislation, if passed, would help curtail the spread of Confucius Institutes across the United States. Currently, there are 78 Confucius Institutes in the US, including at Columbia University and Stanford University. SFT works tenaciously to pressure universities to close existing Confucius Institutes and to prevent new institutions from opening one. Partners in the US Congress are vital for our success. As of today, 33 American universities and institutes have already severed ties with their Confucius Institutes.
SFT would like to commend Senator Blackburn, Senator Harley, Senator Cotton, Senator R. Scott, and Senator Lankford for their efforts in countering Chinese propaganda on US college campuses. As stated by Senator Blackburn’s office:
“The Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act would amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require program participation agreements between the Hanban and American institutions that host Confucius Institutes on their campuses to address the ways China exerts undue influence, including:
- Clearly delineating between the Confucius Institutes’ programs and their own Chinese language programs;
- Locating an institute apart from these departments;
- Removing the Chinese assistant director position from institutes;
- Removing the confidentiality section of agreements;
- Making the agreements publicly available online; and
- Including stronger language in the agreements to make it clearer that the U.S. school has executive decision-making authority.”
“Confucius Institutes are controlled by the highest levels of the Chinese government and act as a tool to legitimize their authoritarian government on the world stage. Ultimately, CIs aim to shape public opinion on China and censor or silence discussions on important political and human rights issues, such as those relating to Tibetans, Uyghurs, Taiwanese, Falun Gong practitioners, Hong Kong, and the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. To defend the values of our academic institutions, universities should make the proactive decision to end their partnerships with the Chinese government Confucius Institutes at once.” Dorjee Tseten, Executive Director, Students for a Free Tibet.
As the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) continues to oppress Tibetans, Uyghurs, Hong Kongers, and other occupied peoples, it should not be permitted to lie about their human rights violations on college campuses. In March of 2020, Tibet was ranked as the second least free country or territory in the world for the fifth consecutive year, while evidence of forced labor in the Uyghur region also surfaced. This legislation makes it more difficult for the CCP to censor these truths on US campuses; SFT deeply appreciates the efforts of Senator Blackburn’s office and the other offices that have backed this legislation. As a friend of Tibet and a friend of freedom, Senator Blackburn’s leadership against Chinese Government propaganda on US campuses is greatly commended by Students for a Free Tibet.