It’s a benign sounding name which immediately conjures up visions of enlightenment and ancient Eastern wisdom. Indeed, that appears to be precisely the intent. Effective propaganda always drapes itself in cuddly messaging in order to distract from the nefarious agenda underneath. This is exactly what’s going on with Chinese government funded Confucius Institutes, which have sprung up at 500 universities worldwide, including 100 in the U.S.
Until yesterday, I had never heard of these entities, their direct connection to Chinese government propaganda, or the extent to which they’re multiplying. I’m sure 90% of you are in the same boat. The only reason I know anything about them now is thanks to an excellent article published in Politico titled, How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms.
First, let’s examine the direct links these institutes have to official Chinese efforts to propagandize overseas.
The Confucius Institutes’ goals are a little less wholesome and edifying than they sound—and this is by the Chinese government’s own account. A 2011 speech by a standing member of the Politburo in Beijing laid out the case: “The Confucius Institute is an appealing brand for expanding our culture abroad,” Li Changchun said. “It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”
Li, it now seems, was right to exult. More than a decade after they were created, Confucius Institutes have sprouted up at more than 500 college campuses worldwide, with more than 100 of them in the United States—including at The George Washington University, the University of Michigan and the University of Iowa. Overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known colloquially as Hanban, the institutes are part of a broader propaganda initiative that the Chinese government is pumping an estimated $10 billion into annually, and they have only been bolstered by growing interest in China among American college students.
“Coordinate the efforts of overseas and domestic propaganda, [and] further create a favorable international environment for us,” Chinese minister of propaganda Liu Yunshan exhorted his compatriots in a 2010 People’s Daily article. “With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun Gong. … We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes.”
Beijing treats this project seriously, as evidenced by who runs the show. Hanban (shorthand for the ruling body of the Office of Chinese Language Council International, a branch of the Ministry of Education) is classified technically as a nonprofit agency, but it is dominated by Communist Chinese officialdom. Representatives from 12 top state agencies—including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Press and Publishing Administration, a propaganda bureau—sit on its executive council. Hanban’s director general is on the Chinese state council, the 35-member board that basically runs the country.
Why are colleges embracing this ,you ask? As is typically the case with such things, it’s all about the money. Universities that don’t want, or lack the resources to, spend the time or money on Chinese studies departments figure they’ll accept one for free even if its primary function is to disseminate foreign government propaganda.
Less Than 10 Attend University’s White Privilege Workshop
Only nine students showed up to take part in the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s workshop series focused on teaching students about white privilege and related topics. The total number of students in the audience for the first “White Consciousness Conversation,” held Sept. 10, was nine — but two were students there not as participants but as journalists mainly to observe. One was from The College Fix and another from the Niner Times campus newspaper.
Of the remaining seven students, five are members of the university’s conservative Young Americans for Freedom chapter, who were there more out of curiosity and concern about the nature of the seminar and its taxpayer-funded narrative as opposed to learning about how they allegedly perpetuate racism and inequality as Americans with white skin.
Finally, the other two students attended because their professors offered them extra credit to do so, they told The Fix.
With that, it appears the relatively new “White Consciousness Conversations” at UNC Charlotte, which boasts a student population of nearly 30,000, drew .02 percent of its student population.
Facilitators of the workshop did not respond to a subsequent request for comment from The College Fix about what they thought of the event’s low turnout.
According to the university’s website, the conversations aim to help students understand “the meaning and implications of whiteness” and how “engaging in anti-racist practice is crucial in creating racial equity.”
“This space is for all undergraduate and graduate students at UNC Charlotte who are interested in engaging in conversations to assist in their understanding of how racism is perpetuated individually, culturally, and systemically,” the website states.
100 Americans Owe $1 Million+ In Student Loan Debt
Astronomically high college tuition facilitated by a bottomless ocean of student loans has saddled Americans with a record $1.48 trillion in non-dischargeable debt – an amount which has more than doubled since the 2009 lows.
As we reported in January, nearly 40% of student loans taken out in 2004 are projected to default by 2023 according to the Brookings institute.
While in March we noted that debt-laden millennials were set back an average of $140,000 vs. their parents – a problem compounded by the fact that students aren’t just borrowing money for tuition; their student loans cover rent, food and other bills, leaving them with massive interest payments and in many cases, little prospect of getting ahead – much less saving for retirement.
Enter the million-dollar-debtors
While millions of Americans are drowning in student loans – 101 people have the ultimate albatross around their necks; student loan balances exceeding $1 million, according to the Wall St. Journal. Five years ago, there were just 14 people with loans that large.
Utah orthodontist Mike Meru, 37, is one of them. After graduating from Brigham Young University with no debt and a new marriage, Meru borrowed $601,506 debt to attend USC’s orthodontics program – while his new wife Melissa finding work as a USC administrative assistant to save on tuition. After a few years, his student loan had swelled to $1,060,94.
Judge Allows UC Berkeley To Face Lawsuit
(Reuters) – A federal judge rejected the University of California at Berkeley’s bid to dismiss a lawsuit claiming it discriminated against conservative speakers like Ann Coulter by imposing unreasonable restrictions and fees on their appearances.
In a decision late Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Maxine Chesney in San Francisco said two conservative groups could pursue claims that the school applied its policy for handling “major events” and an earlier policy for “high-profile speakers” in a manner that unfairly suppressed conservative speech.
But the judge also said she was “unpersuaded” by claims by the plaintiffs that the school engaged in intentional viewpoint discrimination, and that the major events policy was too vague. She said the plaintiffs could not seek punitive damages.
The Berkeley College Republicans and the Young America’s Foundation, a Tennessee group, had sued after the university canceled Coulter’s scheduled speech last April 27, citing security concerns.
Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, was also named as a defendant.
UC Berkeley is known as the birthplace of the student-led Free Speech Movement of the 1960s. Like other schools, it has tried to welcome different views without jeopardizing safety or its educational mission.
The major events policy was adopted in July, and gave school officials discretion to take various steps to ensure security.
Chesney said the plaintiffs may pursue an equal protection claim over a security fee charged for an appearance by conservative commentator Ben Shapiro that was well above a fee at the same venue for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, part of the court’s liberal bloc.