During the past decade, the Confucius Institute has established itself at nearly 500 universities and K-12 schools in the United States and another roughly 500 around the world.
But some professors are urging schools to break with the Chinese language and cultural nonprofit, charging it is a “propaganda” arm of the Chinese government.
This year, several high-profile schools, like the University of Chicago and Penn State, jettisoned the program. But other large schools like Columbia University, UCLA, Colorado State University and the University of Oklahoma still have Confucius Institutes on their campuses, according to the CI website.
University of Chicago professor Bruce Lincoln said the Institute doesn’t honor academic freedom and its governing board is filled with Chinese Communist Politburo members.
“They have a story they want told, and that is to not be seen as a military and economic giant, but they want to persuade people (China is) a lovely place,” said Lincoln, who teaches the history of religion. “And they’ve been enormously successful.”