AAUP urges Universities to Cut Ties with Confucius Institutes for Ignoring Academic Freedom


The American Association of University Professors (AAUP) is urging colleges and universities nationwide to cut their ties with Confucius Institutes for disregarding academic freedom.

The Association said that these Institutes should be allowed to operate on campus only after their agreements are re-negotiated in a way it assures academic freedom.

A recently released report by the Association said that integrity of the universities and academic staff had been sacrificed by permitting the Chinese government to oversee curriculum and staff at the institutes.

"Allowing any third-party control of academic matters is inconsistent with principles of academic freedom, shared governance, and the institutional autonomy of colleges and universities," the report by the association's Committee on Academic Freedom and Tenure stated.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers had highlighted the same problem in December after a McMaster professor had filed a human rights complaint.

Sonia Zhao alleged that she faced discrimination based on her faith in Falun Gong - a banned spiritual group in China. The complaint forced the Ontario University to shut down its Confucius Institute last year.

Directors at several Confucius Institutes in the United States said that AAUP is not aware of how the program functions.

Stephen Dunnett, chairman of the bi-national committee that supervises the University at Buffalo's five-year-old institute, said that the Chinese do sponsor these activities but they don't control them.

"The university comes first, and then the Confucius Institute, which must operate within the rules of the university," said Xu Zaocheng, director of the institute at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "It is true that it is a program under the Chinese Ministry of Education, but the accusations reflect the Cold War mentality," Xu said, NBC News reports.

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