SFSU kills Confucius Institute Program

In May, 2019, San Francisco State University (SFSU) announced it was closing its Confucius Institute program that had been in operation since 2005.

Closure was not due to concerns about academic freedom, freedom of speech, or even any suspicion of ulterior motives on the part of the teachers sent from China.  In the SFSU case, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2019 denied federal funds for an intensive Chinese language programs if a university also hosted a Confucius Institute, and SFSU has an excellent DOD funded language program.

Sure, DOD can kill Confucius Institutes.  But DOD has nothing on me. I helped kill another SFSU Chinese program ten years earlier.  That was not on the basis of politics, but solely academic rigor.

Let's remember what we are dealing with ...

 News reporting is so uneven.  No mass shooting in the US is censored information in China - in fact, the news is prominently featured.   From China Xinhua News on Twitter -

China Xinhua News

@XHNews

 Shootings this weekend at a Texas Walmart and a bar in Ohio have left 30 people dead. Retail employees are taking to social media to say they're terrified to go to work. Workers fear getting shot at their workplace

Soft power?  We don’t need no stinking soft power.

 

Update at August 28 - the affronts to human dignity, scholarship, free speech, trade fairness and personal expression now seem to come on a daily basis.  China under Mr. Xi is really carving a new international image, and it is neither "peaceful rise" nor "responsible stakeholder in the community of nations." 

No Wechat conversation is safe.  Anytime. Anywhere.  What Chinese are (not) talking about (4)

 Wechat is almost universal.  It is ubiquitous in China, and among the Chinese diaspora and their foreign friends and families.  Its functionality for social media, news, and buying things makes it a better choice than any combination of applications available in the west.  It is Twitter, Facebook, Googlemaps, Tinder and Apple Pay all rolled into one. And it is free.

Free does not mean without cost, of course, and in this case, the cost is the Chinese government being ready, willing, and able to monitor what you say, what you text, what you watch, what videos you post.  In China and outside.  If you think the long arm of Chinese government censorship doesn't reach into the US - well, you would be wrong. 

Money Talks in the Clash of Civilizations

What else would you expect?

You remember Samuel Huntington’s article in Foreign Affairs in 1993 –

The central axis of world politics in the future is likely to be, in Kishore Mahbubani’s phrase, the conflict between "the West and the Rest" and the responses of non-Western civilizations to Western power and values…. The third alternative is to attempt to "balance" the West by developing economic and military power and cooperating with other non-Western societies against the West, while preserving indigenous values and institutions; in short, to modernize but not to Westernize.

Take a look at the three maps below. 

Give Me Liberty! in Hangzhou

There is a saying – with guanxi, you can do anything.  Without guanxi, you can do nothing.  Sometimes, with guanxi, you can get Liberty! in China.  A story about ordering textbooks in China.

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