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The CCP’s Confucius Institutes that Infiltrate U.S. College Operations Just Rebranded

During a June 21 press conference, the National Association of Scholars (NAS) announced that the Chinese government-backed Confucius Institute (CI) program that infiltrates U.S. colleges has been rebranded as a purported Chinese language learning center in order to circumvent U.S. policy. The previous CI’s parent organizaton, Hanban under the Chinese Ministry of Education, was also rebranded as the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation (CLEC).

In the past four years, 104 of the 118 Confucius Institutes at American universities have closed. Yet many of the colleges’ CIs have shifted to become Chinese language learning centers in universities. In reality, however, nothing has changed except the name.

Rachelle Peterson, senior research fellow at NAS, told reporters during a press conference, “We looked at all 118 Confucius Institutes that have ever existed in the United States. At least 28 that closed as CIs were replaced with something similar, usually operated in partnership with CLEC.”

Peterson told reporters that, under the guidance of the CLEC, at least 58 schools maintained a relationship with their Chinese sister universities and at least five schools recruited a new host location for their CI program in order to maintain the relationship.

As an example, the report cites Northern State University in South Dakota, which signed an agreement with the CLEC after closing the CI in 2019. Peterson said The center sends Chinese language teachers and pays their salaries and travel expenses, while Northern State University provides classrooms, teacher housing and health insurance, exactly the same arrangement as for the CI program. “Nothing has changed except the name.”

The CCP has said that Confucius Institutes were established to promote Chinese language and culture. The official website of Hanban published a report on Nov 28, 2012, when Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee, visited the CI headquarters. Li said that the Confucius Institute is a brand that, “has an affinity in itself” and is a “pure culture.” In an earlier official Xinhua report, Li also indicated that the CI is “an important part of the CCP’s grand foreign propaganda pattern.”

CIs have a lot of requirements for their host Western universities. For example, they require the host university to sign a confidentiality agreement not to disclose the amount of funding, and to follow the Chinese version of the supplied textbook. The CI  basically conducts self-censorship. Increasingly, critics see it as an overseas political propaganda machine for the CCP, and a tool to monitor and interfere with overseas campus speech and activities. For example, in 2009 North Carolina State University canceled a plan to invite the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, to speak at the university because the CI protested this action.

The 2020 U.S, Department of State designation of CI as a “foreign mission” was bolstered by the passage of the Confucius Act in March 2021. The act stipulated that schools which maintain CI programs were ineligible to receive most Department of Education funds.

U.S. Republican Congressman Jim Banks (R-IN) said in a recent report released on the CIs that although most of the CIs in American universities have been closed, the CCP’s United Front Work Department continues to promote influence on U.S. college campuses, and he called on Congress and the Administration to take the China threat seriously.

“The mission of the CCP’s United Front Work Department is to influence foreigners and foreign institutions, especially those in the United States, whose work is visible on college campuses across the United States. CIs and Chinese universities establish partnerships with U.S. universities to receive research funding from (Chinese) government agencies. Rep. Banks said that most of the partnerships are not random, and China’s United Front Work Department has specifically targeted university institutions with strong STEM programs, and in recent years, there have been many espionage operations.”

China has always insisted that CIs and similar cultural exchange programs should not be politicized. The CCP’s media Global Times said in an editorial that CIs and similar institutions are a “platform for a comprehensive and objective understanding of China, and China firmly opposes the politicization of academic and cultural exchange activities.”

Sources:

1. Creaders.net, June 23, 2022.                                                                                                                                                               https://news.creaders.net/china/2022/06/23/2497297.html

2. Daily Caller, June 22, 2022.                                                                                                                                                                                          After Being Outed By The State Department, China’s US College Infiltration Operation Just Rebranded: REPORT                                        https://dailycaller.com/2022/06/22/confucius-institute-national-association-of-scholars-rachelle-peterson-ian-oxnevad-jim-banks/ | T

 

China Russia Interactions

While the Western world has imposed tough sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine, China and Russia held a series of activities recently.

  1. On June 10, the Heilhe-Bragoveshchensk road bridge officially opened. Hu Chunhua, China’s Vice Premier, attended and addressed the online opening ceremony.
  2. On June 15, Putin called Xi Jinping on Xi’s birthday.
  3. On June 17, Xi Jinping attended, online, and addressed the plenary session of the 25th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Russia.
  4. Russia and China sent naval ships which separately sailed around the Japanese archipelago.
  5. On June 17, China’s Ambassador to Russia Zhang Hanhui said that China is ready to provide airplane parts to Russian Airlines. The Western sanctions ban exporting airline parts and leasing or supplying airplanes to Russia.
  6. On June 20, Russia’s St. Petersburg Stock Exchange started trading 12 stocks listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, including Tencent, Alibaba, Meituan, Xiaomi, and Jingdong.

Sources:
1. China’s Government Website, June 10, 2022
http://www.gov.cn/guowuyuan/2022-06/10/content_5695126.htm
2. China’s Foreign Ministry Website, June 17, 2022
https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/eng/zxxx_662805/202206/t20220617_10705728.html
3. Net Ease, June 23, 2022
https://www.163.com/dy/article/HAGVK42D0542ONXL.html
4. Epoch Times, June 21, 2022
https://www.epochtimes.com/gb/22/6/21/n13764456.htm
5. Net Ease, June 17, 2022
https://www.163.com/dy/article/HA3938FF05198CJN.html

Pandemic: Chinese Doctors Found Zero Severe Illness Cases for Young People Catching Omicron

On June 18, China CDC Weekly published a research paper by Zhang Wenhong, the leading medical expert from the Shanghai COVID control and prevention group. This research looked at 33,816 omicron infected patients who, between March 22 and May 3, started with light COVID symptoms. A total of 22 patients, all in the high-risk group, had developed a serious illness. That represents 0.065 percent of the total population, or 0.238 percent of the high-risk population. No person, or zero percent, in the low-risk group had a serious illness. The high-risk group is defined as people who were over 60 or had underlying diseases such as a cardiovascular disease (including hypertension), chronic lung disease, diabetes, chronic liver disease, kidney disease, a tumor, or immune deficiency.

With the data showing a low health impact from the Omicron virus, people might question the validity of the government’s “Zero-COVID” and lockdown policy.

Source: Sina, June 19, 2022
https://finance.sina.com.cn/wm/2022-06-19/doc-imizirau9431070.shtml

Pandemic: WHO Director-General Privately Said COVID Virus Was Leaked from China’s Lab

The British media The Daily Mail reported that Director-general Tedros Adhanom of the World Health Organization (WHO) had recently confided to a senior European politician that the most likely explanation for the origin of the COVID virus was a catastrophic accident at a laboratory in Wuhan, from which the infections first spread during late 2019. Officially, Dr. Tedros said that, “We do not yet have the answers as to where it came from or how it entered the human population.”

Some of the Western intelligence services questioned that the Wuhan Institute of Virology had been doing research with the virus and leaked it.

Source: Daily Mail, June 18, 2022
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10930501/WHO-chief-believes-Covid-DID-leak-Wuhan-lab-catastrophic-accident-2019.html

Under Xi Jinping, the Number of Chinese Asylum-seekers Is Increasing. Despite COVID

Figures released by the United Nations’ refugee agency UNHCR showed that around 12,000 Chinese nationals sought asylum overseas in 2012, the year that Xi took office as CCP general secretary. By 2021 that number rose to nearly 120,000.

According to the release of Safeguard Defenders, a human rights NGO based in Madrid, Spain, “By 2019, that figure surpassed 100,000, and despite travel restrictions both in China and worldwide, it continued to increase in both 2020 and 2021. Last year, that figure reached nearly 120,000 people. That is ten times the number of asylum seekers the year Xi came to power.”

“In one year of Xi Jinping’s rule, 2021, China had more asylum-seekers than during the last eight years of the rule of his predecessor Hu Jintao.”

“In fact, since 2012 China has seen some 730,000 people seek asylum. Another 170,000+ persons are living outside of China under refugee status. The number of refugees has held steady for a long time (Many of them are Tibetans living in India).”

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 18, 2022
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202206180103.aspx

China Further Tightens Online Censorship, Mandating Real Name Commenting

The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), recently issued a draft version of the “Internet commenting service management regulations.” The country’s top Internet authority mandates that providers of commenting services shall authenticate the real identity of registered users and shall not provide commenting services to users who have not provided real identity information. The “comment service” refers to the Internet platforms that, by means of posting, reply, messaging and other means, provide users the ability to publish text, symbols, expressions, pictures, audio and video information.

CAC also requires service providers to establish mechanisms to review postings, conduct real-time inspections, and launch emergency responses. The online postings have to be reviewed before being published. Any “illegal and undesirable information” are to be detected, in a timely manner, processed, and reported to the Internet authorities.

CAC also proposed that the service provider establish a user grading system, which conducts a credit assessment of the user’s commenting behavior. Users with serious violations will be blacklisted, deprived of services, and prohibited from re-registering to use commenting services.

Source: Central News Agency (Taiwan), June 18, 2022
https://www.cna.com.tw/news/acn/202206180106.aspx

Multinational Corporations Have a Crisis of Confidence in China

The French newspaper Les Échos published an analysis on Multinational companies’ crisis of confidence in China, focusing on the business community’s shock at  the brutal closure of Shanghai. They have been forced to re-evaluate the “China risk” including factors such as the zero-Covid policy, the war in Ukraine and tensions between the US and China.

The analysis says that the closure, as well as the broader disruptions caused by China’s zero-Covid policy, translate into huge economic costs. Foreign companies have massively reduced their forecasts. According to data from the European Union Chamber of Commerce, as of April, 60 percent of European subsidiaries had lowered their business targets for 2022. Production could be suspended at any time, with the epidemic and China’s draconian Covid prevention policies becoming a sword of Damocles hanging over these companies. According to a survey by the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China, 80 percent of French subsidiaries said that China’s zero-Covid policy is affecting their investment strategy, with 76 percent believing China’s image has deteriorated.

Geopolitics and the growing competition between the U.S. and China are other major long-term factors. Trade wars have complicated the business of multinational companies in China. The war between Russia and Ukraine has abruptly posed new risks. The potential consequences of Beijing’s possible attack on Taiwan could be even greater than that of Western companies’ retreat from Russia. In addition, companies are weighing the effect of the rise of local competitors, increased regulatory restrictions and the reputational risk of doing business in China due to Western condemnation of issues such as Xinjiang and Hong Kong. Many factors are prompting these companies to reassess their long term “China risk.”

Source: Radio France International, June 21, 2022
https://rfi.my/8WHA

China Again Fell to the Third Largest Trading Partner Position of the U.S.

Well-known Chinese news site NetEase (NASDAQ: NTES) recently reported that, in the first four months of this year, the largest trading partner of the United States was Canada, with a bilateral trade volume of US$258.5 billion. Mexico also surpassed China to become the second largest trading partner of the United States, with a bilateral trade volume of $249.8 billion. China fell to the third position, with the total bilateral trade volume of US$241.1 billion. The primary reason for the US-China trade decline is that, in April, U.S. exports to China fell by $1.6 billion, and imports from China fell by $10.1 billion. An important reason for the continued rise in total U.S. trade is that inflation is going global, driving up the prices of imported goods. As we all know, inflation in the United States is very serious at the moment.The inflation rate has reached its highest level in 40 years. Consumer prices have continued to rise, especially gas prices. Thus the U.S. government has been heavily criticized. The U.S. Federal Reserve has already acted and raised interest rates. At present, the U.S. dollar is relatively strong and the currencies of many countries have depreciated, which will help promote U.S. imports. As the world’s factory, China has been the world’s largest trading country for many years. Last year’s total import and export trade volume exceeded US$6 trillion. The United States is China’s largest trading partner.

Source: NetEase, June 9, 2022
https://www.163.com/dy/article/H9DP12BI0519TG73.html