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China’s Confucius Institute at University of Arizona closing

Confucius Institute building (Kreeder13/WikiCommons)

The Confucius Institute at the University of Arizona is closing on July 31 amid unspecified “changes in federal laws and policy,” the university says.

Established in 2007, the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of UA and the Confucius Institute Headquarters,in China collaborated to bring the institute to Tucson. It teaches Mandarin and offers a variety of cultural education programs on campus, to K-12 schools and around the community, like an annual Chinese New Year’s celebration, that was canceled this year due to coronavirus concerns.

“To our partners in China and from our local community, and to Chinese teachers, CIUA staff and volunteers who have worked at CIUA, we are deeply indebted for their immeasurable contributions and dedication to the outstanding Chinese language and cultural program,” UA said in a written statement Wednesday afternoon.

The departure won’t affect the Chinese Language program in its Department of East Asian Studies, the university said.

The UA plans on finding other avenues to collaborate with China to launch another Confucius Institute, according to the letter. More than a dozen universities recently closed their institutes, including Arizona State University, Kentucky, Kansas and Maryland.

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“We will work with the Confucius Institute Headquarters to identify other institutions or non-profits in Tucson or Southern Arizona that might be interested in hosting a Confucius Institute,” UA said.

“In the meantime, we will ensure that the activities of the CIUA, including language classes at public schools, continue for the remainder of the academic year.”

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© 2020 The Arizona Daily Star