The Confucian Continuum: Educational Modernization in Taiwan

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The institutes operate in co-operation with local affiliate colleges and universities around the world, and financing is shared between Hanban and the host institutions. The related Confucius Classroom program partners with local secondary schools or school districts to provide teachers and instructional materials.

The CI in South Korea is no longer active. In partnership with Peking University , the program promotes research activities of graduate students studying Chinese. As of , there are Confucius Institutes in dozens of countries on six continents [11].

Hanban aims to establish 1, Confucius Institutes by But by borrowing the name Confucius, it created a brand that was instantly recognized as a symbol of Chinese culture, radically different from the image of the Communist Party. Kerry Brown, Professor of Chinese Politics at the University of Sydney , notes the irony that the CPC now lionizing Confucius had vilified him just four decades previously for his association with patriarchal, hierarchical, and conservative values.

Confucius Institutes CIs promote and teach Chinese culture and language around the world. CIs develop Chinese language courses, train teachers, hold the HSK Examination Chinese proficiency test , host cultural and artistic presentations, and provide information about contemporary China. They also provide Chinese language teaching staff from Mainland China. As of , there were such teachers working in the United States. The Confucius Institute also has non-academic goals.

Li Changchun , the 5th-highest-ranking member of the Politburo Standing Committee , was quoted in The Economist saying that the Confucius Institutes were "an important part of China's overseas propaganda set-up". The statement has been seized upon by critics as evidence of a politicized mission. While Chinese authorities have been cautious not to have CIs act as direct promoters of the party's political viewpoints, a few suggest that the Confucius Institutes function in this way.


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As a result, both Taiwan and Tibet become taboo at the institutes. Michael Nylan, professor of Chinese history at the University of California at Berkeley , stated that CIs have become less heavy-handed in their demands, and have learnt from "early missteps", such as insisting that universities adopt a policy that Taiwan is part of China. Nylan's survey of faculty and administrators at fifteen universities with Confucius Institutes revealed two reports that institutes had exerted pressure to block guest speakers, but both events went ahead anyway.

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Hanban is a non-profit government organization, [37] though it is connected with the Ministry of Education and has close ties to a number of senior Communist Party officials. The Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing establishes the guidelines which the separate Confucius Institutes worldwide follows.

The headquarters is governed by a council with fifteen members, ten of whom are directors of overseas institutes. Other leaders of the council are similarly drawn from the Communist Party and central government agencies, such as the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Education, and the State Council Information Office also known as the Office of Overseas Propaganda.

The Chinese Government shares the burden of funding Confucius Institutes with host universities, and takes a hands-off approach to management. Each Institute is responsible for drawing up and managing their own budget, which is subject to approval by the headquarters.

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The Confucius Institute Headquarters provides various restrictions on how their funds may be used, including earmarking funds for specific purposes. In addition to their local-partner university, Confucius Institutes operate in co-operation with a Chinese partner university. The Hanban website stated that Chinese language instructors should be "aged between 22 to 60, physical and mental healthy, no record of participation in Falun Gong and other illegal organizations, and no criminal record.

Human rights lawyer Clive Ansley has argued that the part of the hiring policy that discriminates against Falun Gong believers is in contravention of anti-discrimination laws and human rights codes.

Verkuil Chair in Public Law at Yeshiva University , called this policy "unethical and illegal in the free world. The curriculum of Confucius Institutes is based on the institute's role as a language center. Confucius Institutes provide a sanitized view of Chinese society which avoids contentious topics like human rights abuses and Tibet. In the short time-frame of their rapid expansion, the Institutes have been the subject of much controversy.

Criticisms of the Institutes have included practical concerns about finance, academic viability, legal issues, and relations with the Chinese partner university, as well as ideological concerns about improper influence over teaching and research, industrial and military espionage, [28] [29] surveillance of Chinese abroad, and undermining Taiwanese influence.

More significantly, some universities that hosted Confucius Institutes decided to terminate their contracts. Controversy regarding Confucius Institutes in the US, Australian, and Canadian press includes criticism that unlike other governments' language and culture promotion organizations, the Confucius Institutes operate within established universities, colleges, and secondary schools around the world, providing funding, teachers and educational materials. In December , Stockholm University , the first university in Europe to host a Confucius Institute, announced it was terminating the program.

Press coverage of the Braga incident in the Swedish press was said to have influenced the decision. Underlying such opposition is concern by professors that a Confucius Institute would interfere with academic freedom and be able to pressure the university to censor speech on topics the Communist Party of China objects to. In October , University of Chicago professor Marshall Sahlins published an extensive investigative article criticizing the Confucius Institutes and the universities hosting them.

In June , the American Association of University Professors issued a statement urging American universities to cease their collaboration with the Confucius Institute unless the universities can have unilateral control of the academia affairs, that the teachers in Confucius Institutes can have the same academic freedom enjoyed by other university faculty members, and that the agreements between universities and Confucius Institutes are available to the community.

Two months later, in August , Xu Lin, Director-General of the Hanban and Chief Executive of the CIs worldwide, became embroiled in an incident in Braga, Portugal , when Xu ordered her staff to rip pages referring to Taiwanese academic institutions from the published program for the European Association for Chinese Studies conference in Braga , claiming the materials were "contrary to Chinese regulations". In September , the University of Chicago closed their CI after pressure from faculty members, blaming Xu's comments that her threatening letter and phone call forced the university to continue hosting the institute.


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  • Controversy continued to exist in as U. Congress members from Texas wrote a letter to four universities in that state urging them to close their Confucius Institutes.

    In their coverage of the closure, Inside Higher Ed reported that the concerns about the institutes had shifted "from one about academic freedom and integrity to one about the Chinese government's overseas influence activities and concerns about espionage on U. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Chinese government education, propaganda, and advocacy program promoting Mandarin Chinese and Chinese culture with a global focus.


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    Main article: Criticism of Confucius Institutes. Retrieved 11 April The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 21 April The Diplomat. Archived from the original on 7 July Epstein has devoted his professional life to advancing the field of comparative education. He has served the CIES in many capacities. As editor, he issued more editions of that journal than any other editor in the Society's history. He also was president of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies from to , and was on its executive board as a co-opted member or chair of the constitutional committee from to Epstein was honored in as the recipient of the Lourdes Casal Award for the most outstanding work in the social sciences on Cuba.

    He has given the keynote address at meetings of the Comparative Education Society in Europe and of the Argentina Comparative Education Society as well as at Midwestern and Western regional meetings of the Comparative and International Society, and he has addressed the Academy of Higher Education, a body of leading university presidents, in Argentina.

    Epstein's research interests include such varied topics as the impact of parasitic diseases on academic achievement, schoolchildren's sense of nationality in socio-culturally marginal communities, the role of education in globalization and democratization, and theory shifts and boundaries in comparative education. He originated the "filter-effect theory of education" to explain the impact of schools on schoolchildren's national identity in marginalized areas. Although primarily a Latin Americanist and epistemologist, he has also published works on higher education in mainland China and Taiwan.

    He regularly teaches the introductory course to comparative education, comparative theory, and comparative perspectives on education and democratization.

    XI, No.

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