Letters to the Editor

Letter: Propaganda tool

June 25, 2014


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?


Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 10 months ago

It would seem to me from my research that the Confucius Institute is a branch of Chinese education so of course they would want to set their own curriculum. Is the Institute open to all students and if so it would seem to be a good way for the Chinese students to interact with other students and for them to learn about China from the Chinese. Are we supposed to believe that China set up the Institute in all these Universities in order to one day take over the US?

"A report by the American Association of University Professors said universities "have sacrificed the integrity of the university and its academic staff" by allowing the Chinese government to supervise curriculum and staff at the institutes it has established on more than 100 North American campuses to promote Chinese culture and language."



Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

Leslie, Mr. Bjorge brings up allegations that the contracts contain nondisclosure clauses and concessions to the political aims of the Chinese communist government. You have provided nothing to refute this, you have only reported what the party line has published for public relations purposes. I am all for educational diplomacy but I also think it is the responsibility of a tax payer funded university to avoid allowing an oppressive government to dictate the curriculum.

Kendall Simmons 3 years, 10 months ago

I've long wondered why my old colleague (and friend) Gary Bjorge has been writing countless letters over the years against KU's Confucius Institute without ever providing a single reason about why he's against it. That's always struck me as really strange.

So thank you, Leslie! I now understand. Both why Gary wants it shut down...and why he never gave any specifics.

Philipp Wannemaker 3 years, 10 months ago

Thanks, Leslie, now I understand why Gary is so paranoid.

3 years, 10 months ago

Should KU continue to teach the political & propaganda efforts of capitalism? It reminds me of my education on the tragic (to say the least) affects of Manifest Destiny. History becomes history when it becomes a tragedy (Confusius)...and capitalism couldn't become history fast enough for most of us i trust...

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 10 months ago

I like the way you spit out capitalism as if it causes a bad taste in your mouth. This nation has created some of the greatest advances in civilized history as a result of capitalism. Our nation is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but it is far better than a nation that dictates your every move including where you can live and how many children you may have.

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