The University of Arizona paid more than $2 million to launch and maintain a Confucius Institute, a Chinese-founded organization, an investigation by Judicial Watch reveals.
According to public records, the University of Arizona’s Tucson campus paid $100,000 to launch the Confucius Institute and has paid more than $2 million to maintain it since it was created in 2007, the watchdog revealed last week.
The tax-payer funded university, which has an enrollment of about 44,000, is just one of more than 100 campuses around the county to erect the Chinese Ministry of Education-controlled institutions.
Records show the Confucius Institute in Tucson hosted more than 400 university-approved events and classes from 2012 and 2019.
The contract between the Arizona Board of Regents and the People’s Republic of China provides the Confucius Institute with exclusive rights to intellectual concepts, trademarks and inventions it creates.
Confucius Institutes at various US public universities have appeared to provide the Chinese government a platform to disseminate messages friendly to the country’s Communist Party, encourage censorship and restrict academic freedom, FBI Director Christopher warned in congressional testimony on July 23.
The Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations conducted an eight-month-long investigation of the institution’s role in the United States, and while they didn’t find evidence of Chinese espionage, the subcommittee found that the institutions threaten academic freedom and give the Chinese government access to the U.S. education system that China does not extend to American programs.
“Absent full transparency … and full reciprocity for U.S. cultural outreach efforts on college campuses in China, Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), the subcommittee’s chairman, said in a statement in March.
The Trump Administration is cracking down on public schools with Confucius Institutes, threatening to withhold their Department of Defense language program funding. As a result, the University of Arizona is closing its Confucius Institute.
Other universities, including the University of Hawaii, are reportedly shutting down their Confucius Institutes, too.
This development comes amid a human rights crisis and a pro-democracy demonstration of tens of thousands in Hong Kong that’s lasted 30 weeks.
Chinese President-for-Life Xi Jinping warned on Oct. 13 that anyone who threatens to split Hong Kong from China will have their bodies “smashed and bones ground to powder.”
“The longtime partnership between a public U.S. institution of higher learning and Chinese Communists is outrageous, especially considering the myriad of threats—military, economic and human rights—posed by China,” Judicial Watch noted.
“Lately human rights have been at the forefront of global media coverage with violent pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.”