As One Door Closes, More Doors Open

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Photo Credit: Lada Fedyanina
Image Credit: Lada Fedyanina

Although Confucius Institutes have opened and flourished throughout the world, not all have kept their doors open. For example, Sweden’s Stockholm University has decided it will not renew its Confucius Institute (CI) contract. Confucius Institutes are intended to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture internationally; however, criticisms of Confucian Institutes include allegations of censorship, industrial espionage, surveillance, and instilling political bias. Universities in Canada, France, Japan, and the United States have previously terminated their CI contracts, bringing the total number of closures to seven since 2010. Despite these closures, there remain 480 Confucius Institutes on six continents, with two new institutes opening in early 2015 at UC Santa Barbara and the University of Agriculture Faisalabad, Pakistan.

In Australia, Confucius Institutes are established at 11 universities. These are: the University of New South Wales (UNSW), the University of Newcastle, the University of Sydney, the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Adelaide, the University of Western Australia, Charles Darwin University, Griffith University (for tourism), and RMIT University (for Chinese medicine). In Queensland alone, five Confucius classrooms have opened by the University of Queensland’s Confucius Institute in order to promote Chinese language and culture.

“The classrooms will not only enhance opportunities for students, but also for school teachers and administrators in a time where an understanding of Chinese language and culture is receiving greater emphasis,” UQ Confucius Institute Director Professor Ping Chen said.

To learn more about Confucian studies in Australia click here.

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