Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn is making sure the Chinese government isn’t infiltrating American education in her state. The Confucius Institute, a public educational partnership, has ties to the Chinese Ministry of Education. One chapter was closed down at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Now, only one remains at Middle Tennessee University.Blackburn offered the following statement on the matter:
“Those studying Chinese culture and language at American schools should be alarmed that the Chinese government has infiltrated their institutions,” Senator Blackburn says in the statement on her website. “I am pleased to share that today is the last day a Confucius Institute will call the University of Memphis home. Additionally, Middle Tennessee State University, the last college in our state with a Confucius Institute, is taking steps to wind down programming. The Chinese government will no longer be allowed to influence American education the way Confucius Institutes have for the past sixteen years. Confucius Institutes as they currently operate limit academic freedom, and we will not bow to repressive Chinese propaganda systems.”
In March, Blackburn introduced Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act to help create clear distinctions. With so many influences on American culture right now, is the Confucius Institute one that more people need to be paying attention to? Or, is it just an innocent educational organization that doesn’t need monitoring?