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University of Chicago Rejects Confucius Institute

The University of Chicago has decided to end its relationship with the Confucius Institute, which is funded by the government of China to support Chinese-language and culture classes at colleges around the world. Critics have accused the Confucius Institutes of endangering academic freedom by controlling the hiring of instructors and restricting topics that they can discuss. In June 2014, the AAUP issued a statement noting that "Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore academic freedom."

On Sept. 14, 2014, the University of Chicago announced it would end negotiations about extending the Confucius Institute because "recently published comments about UChicago in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership." Xu Lin, the head of the Confucius Institutes, had bragged in a Community Party newspaper interview about the influence she had with University of Chicago officials.

Marshall Sahlins, a University of Chicago professor who helped lead the opposition to the Confucius Institute, has published a new short book, Confucius Institutes: Academic Malware, from Prickly Paradigm Press.