The University of Chicago has decided not to renew its cooperation agreement with Confucius Institute as China celebrates on Sunday the 2,565th birthday anniversary of the philosopher, Ming Pao Daily reported on Monday.
The move comes after more than 100 professors at the university signed a petition opposing the renewal of the tie-up in April, noting that the Chinese side has been controlling the teachers’ appointments, teaching plans and funding at the institute, the newspaper said.
This means that the final say on some of the university’s curricula is in the hands of a foreign government, the professors said.
The academicians complained that the Chinese government interferes in the design of the curriculum at the institute and bars the use of teaching materials that have sensitive content such as Taiwan, Tibet and Falun Gong.
The University of Chicago established its Confucius Institute in 2009 in cooperation with China’s Ministry of Education. The institute seeks to promote Chinese language and culture as well as facilitate cultural exchanges.
The university said in a statement that it will continue supporting cooperation and exchanges with Chinese students, scholars and institutions, but that on major academic issues, the university insists that such partnerships must be led by university scholars and abide by the university’s core values.
The Confucius Institute expressed regret over the move, but said the counterparty has the right to make its own choice, the report said.
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