To the editor:
I sincerely hope that Chancellor Gray-Little and the other members of her Kansas University administration who have consistently denied the true nature of KU’s Confucius Institute have read the statement issued recently by the American Association of University Professors calling upon American universities to either shut down their Confucius Institutes or drastically revise the contracts they have signed with the Chinese government to operate them. The AAUP noted that “Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state” and that most partnership agreements signed by American universities with the Chinese government “feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China.”
A New York Times article described the AAUP statement as basically an echo of sentiments expressed by a distinguished professor emeritus of anthropology at the University of Chicago: “Prominent Confucius Institute hosts should take the lead in reversing course, stressing that the issues involved are larger than their own particular interests. By hosting a Confucius Institute, they have become engaged in the political and propaganda efforts of a foreign government in a way that contradicts the values of free inquiry and human welfare to which they are otherwise committed.”
KU is a prominent Confucius Institute host. Its Confucius Institute was one of the first established and a photograph taken at the dedication ceremony introduced the New York Times article referred to above. So, Chancellor Gray-Little, are you ready to reverse course? Or do you want to have KU continue to serve the political and propaganda efforts of the Chinese state?