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Universities and colleges urged to end ties with Confucius Institutes

(December 17, 2013) The Canadian Association of University Teachers is calling on universities and colleges to sever their ties with institutes subsidized and supervised by the authoritarian government of China.

At a meeting of the CAUT Council earlier this month, delegates passed a resolution calling on universities and colleges in Canada which currently host Confucius Institutes on their campuses to cease doing so, and those contemplating such arrangements to pursue them no further.

“In agreeing to host Confucius Institutes, Canadian universities and colleges are compromising their own integrity by allowing the Chinese Language Culture International to have a voice in a number of academic matters, such as curriculum, texts, and topics of class discussion," said CAUT executive director James Turk. "Such interference is a fundamental violation of academic freedom."

Confucius Institutes are academic units providing instruction in Chinese language and culture. Unlike the Goethe Institut, the British Council and the Alliance Française, Confucius Institutes are most often physically situated on campuses and provide accredited courses.

Turk noted that the University of Manitoba rejected hosting a Confucius Institute out of concerns over political censorship, and McMaster University ended its agreement with the Confucius Institute earlier this year following a human rights complaint by an instructor who alleged discriminatory hiring practices against members of Falun Gong.

“Simply put, Confucius Institutes are owned and operated by an authoritarian government and beholden to its politics,” Turk stated.

Canadian universities and colleges that currently host Confucius Institutes include: British Columbia Institute of Technology, Brock University, Carleton University, Dawson College, University of Regina, University of Saskatchewan, Seneca College, University of Sherbrooke, St. Mary’s University, and the University of Waterloo.