China misusing Confucius Institute to spread its propaganda, claims a petition

China is involved in suppressing the democratic movement in Hong Kong, conducting military exercises in South China Sea, suppressing freedom of press, carrying out military intrusion into Ladakh and Sikkim, and deploying military forces along the Indo-Tibetan border, said a petition calling for the closure of China’s Confucius Institute.
On May 18, France-Tibet Occitanie and Association Initiative Citoyenne jointly submitted a petition to François Bayrou, Mayor of Pau, France calling for closure of the Confucius Institute (CI) which was inaugurated on October 28, 2019 by Lu Shaye, Chinese Ambassador to France.
The petition states that Beijing has “wilfully concealed information on the CoVID-19 virus spread in Wuhan” and “put pressure on WHO to delay declaration of the pandemic situation” resulting in millions of people getting affected all over the world and especially in Europe.
“China has taken control of not only the WHO but also the International Civil Aviation Organisation, UN Food and Agricultural Organization, UN Industrial Development Organization and manipulated their crucial decisions to its favour,” it said.
France-Tibet Occitanie and Association Initiative Citoyenne further claimed that Beijing is utilizing the minor differences among the “Group 17+1 to influence EU’s decisions on crucial issues to destabilize the unity of continent”.
In April this year, Sweden closed its last Confucius Institute following a sentence announced against a Swedish journalist in February, 2020 for writing anti-Chinese movements in Hong Kong.
In 2013, a planned lecture by Dalai Lama at the University of Sydney was cancelled after the head of Confucius Institute entered into discussions with university. The organizers were pressured to bring back the event after a joint campaign with the condition that event was to be held off campus.
In 2018, the campaign called on NSW Department of Education, Australia to shut down its Confucius Institute leading to end Chinese government funded language program in 13 schools.
In September 2014, University of Chicago closed its CI after pressure from faculty members blaming China’s charm offensive.  In the same month, Pennsylvania State University also cut ties with CI after concluding that its functioning is not in line with CI.
In December 2014, Stockholm University – the first one to host CI in Europe – announced it was terminating the program. In the same month, US House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee commented that “universities should not be outsourcing academic control to a foreign government”.
In 2018, US Congress members from Texas urged four universities to close their CIs and within two years, all CIs in Florida were closed.
Last year, the US passed a law prohibiting universities hosting CI from receiving funds from China. In 2019, 9 universities closed CIs as they were unable to obtain waiver from Department of Defense.
This year, University of Maryland also announced the closure of CI, the oldest one in the US. The programmes conducted in the institute attempt to spread a “distorted view of China”, control the discourse and silence discussions on Tibet, Taiwan, Falun Gong, Tiananmen Square massacre and other uncomfortable truths.
There were 548 Confucius Institutes and 1,193 Confucius Classrooms in 147 countries at the end of 2018. Pressure has been mounting on educational institutions hosting Chinese language programs to terminate controversial partnerships with China as evidence of propaganda and censorship has grown in recent years.
In February 2019, US Senate sub-committee report mentioned that the CI programs have acted as “tightly controlled propaganda arms for Beijing” and they should be shut down.
In mid-May 2020, a Chinese Cultural Attache with CI in Brussels was expelled on allegations of trying to establish links with secret services of Belgium.