Chicago University cuts ties with China’s Confucius Institute

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 27 September, 2014, 9:47am
UPDATED : Saturday, 27 September, 2014, 1:18pm

The University of Chicago cut ties with a Chinese language and research centre following a Chinese media report that suggested the university had bowed to the authority of the institute’s leader in Beijing.

The university said in a statement on Thursday that the University of Chicago would not renew its agreement with the Confucius Institute for a second term. The current agreement ends on Monday.

The statement said the university and the Confucius Institute Headquarters, known as Hanban, “have engaged in several months of good faith efforts and steady progress toward a new agreement.”

“However, recently published comments about [the University of Chicago] in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership,” the statement said.

Professors in the US and Canada have urged administrators to end relationships with the institute. They’re concerned universities have allowed the Chinese government, which funds the institutes, to supervise staff and curriculum.

About 100 University of Chicago professors signed a petition in May in support of terminating the programme, which started in 2010.

The publication Jiefang Daily, run by the Communist Party committee of Shanghai, referenced the petition in an article last week. It quoted Xu Lin, chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, as suggesting the university had bowed to the Chinese group.

The university said institute programmes already underway will continue through completion.