Imagine thousands of Patrick Henry Institutes erected on the grounds of universities throughout China.
Imagine these institutes inculcating ideas of American values, emanating from say, the evolution of common law rights, through the Magna Carta and establishment of advisory parliaments to Kings, and onto the principles of limited government and separation of powers that the America founders conceived.
Imagine programs devoted to the American traditions of religious tolerance.
Or studies devoted to Governor William Bradford. After arriving on the Mayflower in 1620 to escape the persecution of King James I, Bradford served as Governor of the Plymouth Colony.
After witnessing commune style farming methods fail miserably, he bucked the tenets of the agreement in place with the English financiers of the colony. He divided farmland equally among colonists, creating a system of private property.
The incentivised property owners were soon growing enough to feed themselves and pay off the English financiers early. Bradford is credited with tapping the source of innovation and industry that would later be called “free enterprise,” but can just as well be called simply freedom.
Now, suppose that it’s pretty much a given that all these Patrick Henry Institutes throughout China are being funded by the U.S. government.
Do these Institutes really exist throughout China? Of course not.
But Confucius Institutes, which promote values that have a stamp of approval from the CCP, have been spreading for years on university campuses throughout America.
Growing Focus, Sleight Of Hand
China has been installing Confucius Institutes in countries in the U.S. and other western nations since 2004, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS).
By 2017, there were 103 such Institutes operating at universities around the country. Perhaps even more disturbingly, up to 500 K-12 school systems have partnered with the Hanban, a Chinese government connected group to offer “Confucius Classrooms.” And a handful of K-12 school systems have full-blown Confucius Institute centers.
The NAS called attention to the CCP ties and pro-CCP propaganda of the organizations in a study titled “Outsourced to China:
Confucius Institutes and Soft Power in American Higher Education.”
Since then, there has been some significant pushback. A number of universities stopped accepting the largesse that came with acceding to allowing the Confucius Institutes on campus.
Tufts University, Cleveland State, Emory University, and Michigan State are among those that have either closed down or are set to close CIs.
But though the official number appears to be on the wane, counter efforts have sought to diffuse examination by various means. Some universities, for example, have not closed their Confucius Institutes, but have merely expunged website pages and sites advertising them.
And, according to a recent article by NTD.com, China has responded to criticism, including a French military study that exposed how tightly the CIs have been tied to the Chinese government, by a new propaganda effort.
They are now attempting to rebrand the Confucius Institutes, and to create an appearance that the funding and governing of the organizations, while still emanating from the mainland, have been decoupled from the government.
China had been establishing and controlling CIs through an organization called Hanban, but in 2020 this was renamed the “Center for Language Education and Cooperation” (CLEC).
The CCP also spun-off a supposedly non-governmental organization called the “Chinese International Education Foundation” to control local CIs.
According to NTD:
“State-run media outlet Global Times said at the time that the move was to “disperse the Western misinterpretation that the organization served as China’s ideological marketing machine.” CLEC is a government agency under the Chinese Ministry of Education, which is overseen by the Central Propaganda Department of the CCP.”
Some universities have claimed to shut down the controversial CIs, while allowing them to continue to exist in a re-branded form.
For example, San Diego State said it shuttered a Confucius Institute on its campus in 2019. But later that same year, it announced a new “Chinese Culture Center,” in the same building that had housed the CI. It was even led by the former director of the CI, and retained teaching materials donated by Hanban.
Rachelle Peterson, a researcher with the NAS, told Fox News earlier this year that many changes at universities have been cosmetic, and meant to disguise the infiltration, as opposed to truly rooting it out and ending it.
According to Peterson, some colleges have just been “replacing them with other organizations that retain a lot of Confucius Institutes’ programs.”
The Trends Journal has focused on the ways in which America’s relatively open system has been exploited by China to further propaganda, business espionage and much more in many recent articles, including:
- “AMERICA DRIFTS TOWARD CHINA’S ‘TECHNO-AUTOCRACY’” (9 Feb 2021)
- “CHINA WANTS A BULLET TRAIN INTO THE U.S.” (1 Jun 2021)
- “CHINA BUSINESS ESPIONAGE NETS $500 BILLION A YEAR” (29 Jun 2021)
- “HOW THE CCP WENT VIRAL ON THE WINGS OF COVID” (5 Oct 2021)
The NTD story about the attempted rebranding being undertaken by the CCP can be read here.