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Like Beijing with the Confucius institutes policy

What had been long suspected, is a sad certainty: China is holding in the province of Xinjiang at least a Million Uighurs without charge in internment camps. Beijing's henchmen, bully, indoctrinate and torture. The recently published "China Cables" around the world have caused outrage. In several Western countries is now discussed, whether the relationship with China needs to be rethought.

In Germany, the so-called Confucius institutes are targeting. With this China wants to convey to the language and culture abroad. In addition to Mandarin courses, calligraphy courses, or lectures to previous Chinese dynasties on the program. The first Institute was opened in 2004 in Seoul. Meanwhile, there are about 500 worldwide, including two in Switzerland, in Basel and in Geneva. On the occasion of the discussion in Germany, the government's response to a parliamentary question of the FDP-faction in the Parliament.

According to be controlled by the Confucius Institute, a subordinate authority of the Chinese Ministry of education, the propaganda Department of the Communist party of China under the authority of. "The Federal government is well-known that the Chinese government or the Communist party of China's influence on events, curricula and teaching materials of the Confucius institutes in Germany", say it in the answer.

The FDP warned the German Parliament, in front of Chinese influence: "Behind a seemingly innocent tea ceremonies and language classes, hiding the ice-cold Propaganda of an authoritarian regime. The lost at our universities, nothing," said the FDP-education expert Jens Brandenburg to the news Agency DPA.

The Swiss arm to fight back against the criticism, to be a Propaganda vehicle of Beijing. "I never missed one with a muzzle," said the head of the Geneva Institute in the "Sunday newspaper". On request, a University spokesman Marco Cattaneo says that the Chinese government have still intervened directly. It is also possible that the student would students of sensitive topics such as the Situation in Tibet and the massacre in Tiananmen treat place. In fact, events related to political issues such as the Situation in Hong Kong is available on the Website.

The Ambassador wants to. no political debates

the Situation is Different at the Institute in Basel In may 2018, the Chinese Ambassador Geng Wenbing not have to discuss about current Chinese politics or the relationship between politics and the economy, says the Institute Director Qi Zhu Ammann. "The Institute should focus on the role of teaching the Chinese language and culture", describes the Directive of the Ambassador. "Today, the project financing by the Chinese side to be more tightly controlled," says Zhu Ammann. Accordingly, the focus in Basel on language courses and Lectures to harmless topics such as Chinese music.

"It is probably no coincidence that the Chinese Ambassador has intervened in Basel", says Wolfgang Behr Chinese studies Professor at the University of Zurich. "In the course of since 2015, the head of state Xi Jinping increased party ideology Beijing is controlled much more precisely, that no one talk publicly about politically sensitive topics," he says. With politically sensitive topics, Behr says, the "three T": Tiananmen, Tibet and Taiwan, but also the re-education camps for Uighurs in Xinjiang, or the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Active censorship in Portugal

in Zurich, there were no longer plans to open a Confucius Institute. From 2008 to 2014 negotiated Behr for the University of Zurich, with the Chinese side. In July 2014, a scandal was an obstacle to Portuguese Braga then implement the project. A local Confucius Institute co-organized the scientific meeting the top Boss of all the Confucius institutes censored the printed conference program, by wanted to cut out content, in which a Taiwanese Sponsor was mentioned. This was a turning point, says Wolfgang Behr. Since then, the plans at the University of Zurich are placed on ice.

He looks at the Confucius institutes around the world a wide range: Some would have fought for a certain amount of free space. Others are increasingly on state loyal line. And this is not because China kidney increasingly direct intervention, but most of the time, because the head of the Confucius institutes to be incorporated into a pre-emptive obedience not dare, sensitive issues in your program.

A "new Sinology" justify

A fundamental Problem with the Confucius institutes, for many years China provides for correspondent and book author Kai Strittmatter. He doesn't like the intertwining of the institutions with the local universities. This is the crucial difference to cultural institutions in other countries. Goethe-Institute work, wherever you go, as a stand-alone homes. Confucius institutes are emerging, usually in cooperation with local universities.

It could not do that universities in Europe with the Communist party in common cause, so Matt argued. Because the long-term goal of Beijing is not the case, language and Taichi classes to offer, but to spread a "New Sinology," as he writes in his book "The reinvention of the Dictatorship". He cited the consultant Zhang Jing: "Our institutions have in the world of cooking started with language courses calligraphy and Dumplings, -. But the us is limited to. We want the Confucius Institute to carry our Vision into the academic world, in the Sinology." It is a false image would consist of China. "We hope that the Chinese is more concerned with Chinese politics and Chinese economy, and we hope that you explained to the people that we can't just go the Western way," said Zhang Jing.

On the Radar of the intelligence service

as early as 2016, criticized, Markus Seiler, at that time head of the intelligence service NDB, the Institute. There is a risk that China could exercise in this way, the ideological influence on Switzerland was in place. "China is, from a political point of view, an opaque actor," said Seiler to Radio SRF. Due to differences in basic values – for example, in human rights issues – whether the creation of such institutions for Switzerland, "a challenge". Also in the management report in 2016, the news service of the Institute are mentioned critically. The question of how the institutes are currently being evaluated, do not want to answer the NDB. The Hear has changed in the assessment, nothing. The Institute but will not be actively monitored.

the Swiss society for threatened peoples criticized in a report that the Institute would authorize the "human rights and minority issues" off - limits. Also be questionable whether the institutions would be evaluated according to scientific Standards.

Harmless course, great criticism: students will take part in a calligraphy course in Denver. Photo:

more significantly, the criticism of the institutions in the United States. In February, a US Senate Committee published a very critical report on the Institute. In this you be shown as the Instrument, the Image of China as an economic threat and a security threat to Polish.

Also, Chinese teachers would not have a contract with the Chinese government to sign. In it, you would have to explain to the true national interests of China. As a result, China wool export its "censorship of political debate" and are trying to prevent discussion of politically sensitive topics. "If something is funded by the Chinese government, we will never know what you get", - quotes the report of a headmaster.

in Canada, several universities have closed their institutes. A stir, a case provided at McMaster University in Hamilton. A teacher made public that her contract with the Institute of prohibition of their membership of the religious movement Falun Gong. McMaster University has completed under the program.

Created: 04.12.2019, 18:51 PM

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