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RFA: Many Confucius Institutes in the U.S. Are Closed or Plan to Close

Radio Free Asia reported that, as of the end of last year, at least 25 universities and school districts around the world had terminated their partnership with the Confucius Institute, resulting in the closure of 22 Confucius Institutes. In the U.S., in addition to the colleges that announced the closure of the Confucius Institute in 2018, the University of Chicago, Penn State University, and the University of Illinois in Champaign had previously closed their Confucius Institutes.

In the article, RFA quoted a statement from Doris Liu, who is the director of the documentary movie, “In The Name Of Confucius.” Liu stated that, although some schools have closed Confucius Institutes, they do not want to see a discontinuation of other cooperation with China because of that closure, including the recruitment of Chinese students. The real purpose behind the Confucius Institute is that it carries the public relations work of the Chinese government – using its soft power so that foreigners will form a friendly impression of China. In fact, Rachelle Peterson, director of research programs at the National Association of Scholars, conducted a survey of Confucius Institutes in 12 U.S. universities and found that the Confucius Institute and the university had signed a contract requiring the universities and their employees “not to damage” the reputation of the Confucius Institute. If they did so, it would terminate all cooperation.

In addition, political reasons also drove the re-examination of the Confucius Institute at American universities as the U.S. has been reassessing its policy towards China. The problems of the Confucius Institute are increasingly being exposed. The latest National Defense Authorization Act, which the U.S. passed in August of last year, stipulates that the Ministry of Defense shall not provide funds for Chinese programs of American universities that open Confucius Institutes unless the school submits and obtains relevant exemptions. There are 11 universities that receive such funding. As a result, several universities including the University of Rhode Island announced that they will close their Confucius Institutes.

Last month, the Confucius Institute American Center organized the first “American Confucius Alumni China Tour.” It invited outstanding students from the Confucius Institutes across the U.S. who had graduated in the past three years to come to Beijing and Chengdu for visits.

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 14, 2019

China to Target Foreign Companies for Mislabeling Taiwan and Hong Kong on Their Websites

Following the 2018 incident of pressuring foreign airlines to identify Taiwan and Hong Kong properly as being part of China, China has turned to targeting foreign companies in China who don’t label Taiwan and Hong Kong correctly.

According to an article that Legal Daily published, the Institute of Law of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Internet Development Research Center of Peking University recently jointly published the first “Blue Book of the Internet Rule of Law – the 2018 China Internet Rule of Law Development Report.” In the Blue Book, it stated that among the world’s top 385 companies conducting business operations in China in 2017, 83 of them didn’t properly identify Taiwan and China on their company’s official website. Among them, there were 66 foreign companies misidentifying Taiwan, 53 foreign companies misidentifying Hong Kong, and 45 foreign companies that misidentified Taiwan and Hong Kong. The chief editor of the Blue Book told Legal Daily that the “one China” policy has sufficient basis under international and domestic law. He suggested that China should use existing laws and regulations to dispose relevant violations resolutely. China will impose warnings, fines, and confiscation of illegal income on violators and order them to suspend business until they rectify the situation.

Source: Legal Daily, January 16, 2019

Chinese Minister of Public Security Emphasizes “Preventing a Color Revolution”

On January 17, China’s provincial level police chiefs gathered together in Beijing where State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Zhao Kezhi delivered a speech. According to official reports, Zhao proposed to create a safe and stable political and social environment for the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China as a major political task for the nationwide police forces.

On 21 September 1949, then Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. 2019 is also the 30th anniversary of the June 4th incident in 1989 and 20th anniversary of the persecution of Falun Gong which began in 1999. China is also facing a series of challenges such as trade negotiations with the U.S. and a slowing domestic economy. It has been reported that Zhao also mentioned in his speech to senior officials of the Ministry of Public Security that it is necessary to guard against a “color revolution” and to battle for political security.

Zhao asked that all be on high alert for political security and always make the prevention of political risks a top priority. He demanded they “strictly guard against and resolutely crack down on various invasive and subversive activities of hostile forces at home and abroad, deepen anti-terrorism and anti-secession struggles, firmly defend political security, and resolutely defend the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system of our country.”

Source: Beijing News, January 18, 2019

In China, the “Ten Commandments” Are Now “Nine Commandments”

Two months ago, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials demanded that a church in Luoning County, Henan Province remove one Commandment from the list of Ten Commandments.

About 30 officials from the CCP Central Committee’s Religious Inspector Group, the Luoyang City United Front Department, and the Luoning County United Front Department visited the church. They ordered the church to wipe out the first Commandment, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

The priest and believers objected to the demand, but the officials told them that Xi Jinping was against this Commandment and therefore whoever did not follow their orders was committing actions against the state.

It has also been reported that, as the CCP is attempting to create “Chinese-styled Christianity,” the traditional bible is banned from being sold. It has been replaced with a “new version of the bible” that the CCP itself revised. The authorities now require all churches to promote “the Socialist Core Values.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 4, 2019

China Regulates Blockchain

China published new rules to request blockchain service providers to get the real name of each user and not to publish contents that do not conform to the authorities’ requirements.

The Cyberspace Admission Office issued the “Regulations on the Management of Blockchain Information Services” on January 10, 2019. The regulations will take effect on February 15, 2019.

The Regulations state that the blockchain service provider holds the main responsibility for the safety management of the contents, that it should implement a real ID identification system for its users, that it cannot use blockchain to conduct activities that are prohibited by law or by administrative regulations, and that it cannot produce, replicate, publish, or spread information prohibited by the law or by administrative regulations.

Source: Cyberspace Admission website, January 10, 2019

Beijing Imposes Brainwashing Courses in Universities

During Hu Jintao’s era, the Chinese government mandated four compulsory political courses in universities and colleges. Recently, the Ministry of Education issued a high-profile announcement to strengthen and improve the “Current Affairs and Policies” course, as an attempt to continue the party’s ideological control.

The Ministry of Education circulated a notice in April 2018, recommending that all higher education institutions in the country strengthen and improve the “Current Affairs and Policies” course to “help college students understand the situation at home and abroad in the new era correctly, and to obtain a thorough understanding of the historical achievements and historical changes of the party and the state and of the historic opportunities and challenges they are facing.” The purpose was to “further push Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era into the students’ minds, to promote the party’s major policies … and to train a new generation that will undertake the great mission of national rejuvenation.”

One student told Radio Free Asia that the course is actually “brainwashing” education in combination with current events. He cited the US-China trade war as an example. “The course tells how the United States is rude and unreasonable toward China. It also preaches that the party is very great and instills ideas about the party-state system and about xenophobia.”

The Ministry of Education stipulated that bachelor’s degree students should take no less than 8 class hours for a total of 2 credits per semester, and associate degree students no less than 8 class hours for a total of 1 credit per semester, to “ensure that the undergraduate students on campus take the course uninterrupted.”

Another student told the reporter that the “Current Affairs and Policies” course is compulsory and one cannot graduate without completing it. The credits for each political class are similar to major related classes. Many students choose to memorize the course contents.

The student also mentioned that his school once distributed questionnaires on the “Current Affairs and Policies” class, but it touched on little of the contents in the curriculum.

“A lot of stuff in the questionnaire is actually to evaluate the students’ political views. There are questions such as the following: ‘Do you agree with constitutional democracy?’ ‘Do you agree with the leadership of the Communist Party?’ ‘What do you think about religious beliefs?  One of my high school classmates who answered that he is a religious believer was called into the school for a conversation. Therefore we don’t dare to tell the truth on these questionnaires. I’m afraid that if the questionnaire is checked, the respondent will be called in for a conversation.”  Feng Chongyi, a professor at the University of Technology in Sydney, said in an interview that the “brainwashing” education exists because the Chinese ruling party must control the students’ ideological dynamics.

“After June 4, the universities intensified political classes. The democratic movement in 1989 posed great challenges to the Chinese ruling party. The government regarded students as the “worst-hit area” in terms of challenges to the Chinese Communist regime.” “(‘Brain-washing’ education) is something special in a totalitarian regime; starting at the kindergarten stage, it puts political education in the first (place). From childhood on, people have not been able to cultivate the ability to think and judge things independently and the real cognitive ability of a human being has been destroyed.”

Source: Radio Free Asia, January 10, 2019