There is an interesting diplomatic spat between USA and China at the moment. No not the headline human rights case of Chen Guangcheng, now safely at a New York university (but not his family who are held as hostages in effect: a time-honoured tactic) .
The spat is over teachers at Confucius Institutes in the USA. According to reports:
A policy directive sent by the U.S. Department of State to universities that sponsor Confucius Institutes suggests that the language and cultural centers that are a key piece of the Chinese government’s diplomatic outreach will have to change how they operate or fall afoul of American visa laws.
The memorandum, dated May 17, states that any academics at university-based institutes who are teaching at the elementary- and secondary-school levels are violating the terms of their visas and must leave at the end of this academic year, in June. And it says that, after a “preliminary review,” the State Department has determined that the institutes must obtain American accreditation in order to continue to accept foreign scholars and professors as teachers
State Department has said that it expects the issue to be resolved: it seems to link to a Chinese adminstrative move against foreign teachers in China.
The Chinese press has had a field day. What struck me was how the comments to news stories are identical to comments about European cultural diplomacy activity and organisations. Look at the comments in this report: on the 500,000 tweets on China’s own twitter system, Sina.
I oppose these kinds of Confucius studies organized by the government. It’s quite soured. How about our government spend more money on its own people? Confucius Institutes are really funny
I think it is quite normal. Chinese people haven’t made its domestic education good. How can they go to promote “Confucius Institutes”?!
Different values; same debates.