People’s Daily recently reported that the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded in a press conference to the question of whether the closure of the Confucius Institute at the University of Chicago will become an obstacle in China’s effort to enhance its “soft power.” The Ministry’s spokesperson stated that all U.S. Confucius Institutes were established based on voluntary applications from U.S. universities. The voluntary applications requested “support and help” with teaching materials and teachers. The Institutes have never imposed anything on the universities and could not be a threat to academic freedom or to the reputation of the universities.
[Editor’s note: On October 1, Pennsylvania State University discontinued its contract with the Confucius Institute. The Toronto District School Board, the largest district school board in Canada, also voted against the renewal of its contract with the Confucius Institute.]
Source: People’s Daily, September 29, 2014