University of Trier in Germany suspends Confucius Institute

The University of Trier in Germany is the Beijing-managed Confucius Institute (CI) on its campus after the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has approved European institutions and individuals who have expressed support for Uighurs suppressed in China’s Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region. ) Stop all activities.

In a recent statement, the university expressed concern over the recent measures taken by the Chinese administration to “limit freedom by imposing sanctions on numerous scholars across Europe and the Mercator China Institute (MERICS).”

“Freedom of research and education is an irreplaceable asset.” statement read. “The Basic Law of the Federal Republic of Germany clearly emphasizes this freedom in Article 5.”

The university described the decision to suspend the operation of the affiliated CI as “a sign of protest and solidarity against domestic and foreign colleagues affected by sanctions.”

In March, the Chinese administration took retaliation against 10 Europeans and 4 European groups shortly after the European Union’s decision to impose sanctions on CCP officials and groups responsible for deteriorating the human rights situation in Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. Declared.

The four organizations covered by the CCP are the Council of the European Union’s Political Security Committee, the European Parliament’s Human Rights Subcommittee, the German Institute for Mercator China (MERICS), and the Democratic Union Foundation (AoD) Denmark.

“We will never succumb to bullying by authoritarian states,” said Anders Fog Rasmussen, founder of AoD. March 22 response For sanctions. “Our efforts to promote freedom, democracy and human rights around the world will continue.”

He added that China’s recent move “re-emphasized the urgent need for democracy to work together to stop the dictatorship of the world.”

On September 4, 2018, a gate officially known as the Vocational Skills Education Center was photographed at Dabancheng, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. (Thomas Peter / Reuters)

According to RFI (Radio France International), 22 CIs are currently operated at German universities, including the University of Trier.

The CI network is overseen by the CCP’s Ministry of Education, so controversy continues.

The institute has been accused of limiting freedom of speech and research by excluding sensitive topics such as human rights and religious beliefs. According to independent filmmaker and journalist Doris Liu, they also discriminate in recruitment policies. Therefore, they are facing increasing resistance in many democracies.

In June 2014, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) statement Unless the university manages its academic affairs unilaterally, it encourages American universities to stop cooperating with CI, and CI teachers have the same academic freedom that other university faculty members enjoy. To the community that agreements between CIs are available.

The AAUP statement was widely covered by the US media and sparked widespread debate in the United States.

As of late March, 74 US CIs were closed or are in the process of being closed. report According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS). Of the 50 remaining CIs in the country, eight were scheduled to be closed, according to the report.

“This move shows the world’s tendency to abolish the Confucius Institute,” Liu told The Epoch Times on April 12.

She said the CCP’s CI goes far beyond language and cultural institutions.

“Not all faculty members working for them are CCP spies, but they are certainly a united front tool and working for the benefit of the CCP through Western social networking.”

Liu also revealed that intelligence agencies in multiple countries reported CI faculty to the government about their suspicious activity.

Liu’s documentary, In the name of Confucianism It focuses on the impact of CCP pervading Western universities. The film is published in 12 languages ​​and has been published in about 20 countries.

Liu also warned that democracy should prevent its invasion through non-CI channels, given the current impact of CCP on US campuses.