China Funds U.S. Schools, Doesn’t Want Tibet Discussed
When a Beijing organization with close ties to China’s government offered Stanford University $4 million to host a Confucius Institute on Chinese language and culture and endow a professorship, it attached one caveat: The professor couldn’t discuss delicate issues like Tibet.
“They said they didn’t want to be embarrassed,” said Richard Saller, dean of Stanford’s school of humanities and sciences. Stanford refused, citing academic freedom, and Chinese officials backed down, Saller said. The university plans to use the money for a professorship in classical Chinese poetry, far removed from the Tibet dispute.
China is expanding its presence on U.S. campuses, seeking to promote its culture and history and meet a growing global demand to learn its language. Hanban, a government-affiliated group under the Chinese education ministry, has spent at least $500 million since 2004 establishing 350 Confucius Institutes worldwide and about 75 in the U.S., four times the number in any other country, according to its annual reports and website.
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Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).
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