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Education & Employment

Visa row over teachers at US Confucius Institutes

SCMP reporter Shi Jiangtao reports in Beijing, “Beijing is caught up in a diplomatic row with Washington over alleged visa violations at Chinese government-sponsored Confucius Institutes in the United States.”

According to Shi, a US State Department official played down the issue as “simply a regulatory matter” and denied that the Department targeted the Confucius Institutes that have been operating in the US for nearly a decade.

However, China’s official media Global Times criticised the US decision as being politically driven ahead of November’s US presidential election.

The SCMP Report:

Beijing is caught up in a diplomatic row with Washington over alleged visa violations at Chinese government-sponsored Confucius Institutes in the United States.

It is feared the dispute will disrupt the operations of more than 80 institutes and could escalate if not handled properly.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Chinese had been communicating with the US side. “We hope it can be solved properly and will not affect normal operations of relevant programmes,” she told a regular briefing yesterday.

The People’s Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece, and its affiliate the Global Times criticised the US decision as being politically driven ahead of November’s US presidential election. It risked hampering cultural and personnel exchanges between the two countries, they warned.

The US State Department policy guidance, issued on May 17, accused Chinese teachers at the institutes with J-1 visas – which are given to people participating in work- and study-based exchange programmes – of violating visa rules by teaching in primary and high schools. They must leave the United States by the end of next month and “no extensions will be granted”, the directive said.

The US schools that host the institutes – key platforms for Beijing’s push to improve its “soft power” – were surprised by the move.

An official at the Office of Chinese Language Council International, known as Hanban that sponsors the institutes around the world, told the Global Times that he was shocked that the US had announced the decision without any prior consultation with Beijing. Many US universities rely heavily on the Chinese government-funded institutes for their Chinese language programmes.

An unnamed State Department official tried to play down the issue as “simply a regulatory matter” and denied it had targeted the Confucius Institutes, which have operated in the US for nearly a decade.

More than 350 Confucius Institutes and 500-plus Confucius classrooms have been established in 106 countries since 2004.

Shi Jiangtao
South China Morning Post

About chankaiyee2

Author of the book "Tiananmen's Tremendous Achievements" about how with the help of Tiananmen Protests, talented scholars with moral integrity seized power in the Party and state and brought prosperity to China. The second edition of the book will be published within a few days to mark the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Protests All the parts in the first edition remain in the second edition with a few changes due to information available later and better understanding. There are also some changes for improvements of style. The new parts are Chapters 12-19 on events in China after the first edition was published: The fierce power struggle for succession between reformists and conservatives; Xi Jinping winning all elders’ support during his mysterious disappearance for 2 weeks in early September, 2012; and Xi Jinping Cyclone. Chan Kai Yee's new book: SPACE ERA STRATEGY: The Way China Beats The US An eye-opening book that tells the truth how the US is losing to China. The US is losing as it adopts the outdated strategy of Air-Sea Battle while China adopts the space era strategy to pursue integrated space and air capabilities: It is losing due to its diplomacy that has given rise to Russian-Chinese alliance. US outdated strategy has enabled China to catch up and surpass the US in key weapons: Hypersonic weapons (HGV) that Pentagon regards as the weapon that will dominate the world in the future. Aerospaceplane in China’s development of space-air bomber that can engage enemy anywhere in the world within an hour and destroy an entire aircraft carrier battle group within minutes. Anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons, anti-ASAT weapons, stealth aircrafts, drones, AEW&C, etc. The book gives detailed descriptions of China’s weapon development based on information mainly from Chinese sources that the author monitors closely. U.S. Must Not Be Beaten by China! China is not a democracy. Its political system cannot prevent the emergence of a despotic leader or stop such a leader when he begins to bring disasters to people. A few decades ago, Mao Zedong, the worst tyrant in world history did emerge and bring disasters to Chinese people. He wanted to fight a nuclear war to replace capitalism with communism but could not bring nuclear holocaust to world people as China was too weak and poor at that time. If a despot like Mao Zedong emerges when China has surpassed the US in military strength, world people will suffer the misery experienced by Chinese people in Mao era. China surpassing the US in GDP is not something to worry about as China has the heavy burden to satisfy its huge population, but China surpassing the US in military strength will be world people’s greatest concern if China remains an autocracy. US people are of much better quality than Chinese people. What they lack is a wise leader to adopt the correct strategy and diplomacy and the creative ways to use its resources in developing its military capabilities. I hope that with the emergence of a great leader, the US can put an end to its decline and remain number one in the world. China, US, space era strategy, air-sea battle, space-air bomber, arms race, weapon development, chan kai yee

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