The Confucius institute is a organisation that the Chinese communist party promotes under the guise of cheap and easy Chinese language lessons for westerners in university. The CCP uses the Confucius institutes as a way to infiltrate our universities. Once they set up a language exchange foothold, the CCP uses the Confucius institute to promote propaganda in western universities, while monitoring Chinese international students who study abroad.
Monitoring Of Chinese Students
Chinese students studying in western universities is a real worry for the CCP, back in China, they are brainwashed from an early age to love the party. While, needing the new generation of Chinese to be more educated, the risk of radicalisation is something that these confucius institutes were designed to mitigate.
The Confucius institutes embed CCP members who’s real job is to report back to China on what their students are learning in western universities. The last thing the CCP wants, is for their returning students to bring back to China ideas around democracy and freedom of speech. Imagine if western universities were to facilitate the downfall of the CCP by radicalising their students, not exactly what the CCP would like to see happen.
We’ve heard stories of nationalistic Chinese students being sent home early and being punished back in China, some have disappeared. There is footage of Chinese students attacking other students for criticising China and even secretly filming professors who have called Taiwan a country.
Chinese International Students
There have been Chinese students going to countries for years to study. These countries include
Australia, United States of America Europe and the UK. While these students continue to come,
there is the idea of sharing culture, knowledge and language. It has mostly been the Chinese
students learning English and each individual country’s culture. However, there has been a change in
recent years, there are now people coming from China to teach these countries and others their
language and culture. They choose people who are 16-25 years old and make sure they are not
affiliated with anyone who is against the Chinese communist party regime.
This all began in 2004 and is still very much a hot topic. It is not just random individuals coming and teaching it is actually a heavily funded program.
How Many Confucius Institutes Does Australia Have?
Australia alone has 13 Confucius Institutes in Universities and 57 in
colleges and schools. The program does have certain ideas that are taboo, such as Tibet and Taiwan.
What does that mean for Australia? Will we be blocking our own human rights or join China in their
push for power?
The program is started with a mutual agreement between the university or College and Hanban
which is an educational institute in China. They each come to the table with a contract and
$100,000. Hanban also sends $10,000 for books etc. The program teaches the Chinese language,
culture and current views of China. It is said that they are teaching current China views but not
politics of any kind. The US has the most institutes set up, then comes the UK in second place and
Australia is in third place.
The Confucius Institute
Universities in Australia have had the program set up called the Confucius Institute. This is where the
Chinese are teaching Australian students their culture, knowledge and language. On the surface it
seems as though they are purely sharing their differences of culture and language. When you dig a
little deeper you will find that most of the areas that the Confucius Institute offers are non-degree
There are also events held by them that are on political issues as well as social and
economic issues. There has been talk of them also sharing their human rights with us, but those
human rights are extremely different to ours. China is a communist country and has a very poor view
on human rights.
There has definitely been some suspicion that the Confucius Institute is pushing a propaganda
agenda and is using agents for espionage. That hard part of this is that it is actually quite hard to
prove that there is something else happening with the Confucius Institute.
It has gone as far as being investigated by Australia’s government but there seems to be no change as to the status of the Institute in Universities throughout Australia. It seems to have been shown as relations between
China and Australia start to get rocky.
There has even been a drop in the number of Chinese students coming to Australia to learn. There has been a slow decline of the Institute in Universities throughout Australia but they are not the only ones who are being taught through this Institute, there are many schools who have signed up to the program.
The thing to remember is that China is making a soft power push and the people associated with the
Confucius Institute could very well be agents working for the Chinese government to accommodate
that push. Due to this many of the Institutes have been closed in both the US and the UK. Australia is
among the top three countries to have a number of Confucius Institutes open, the others are the UK
The question then becomes when do we draw the line and start closing them down? Over
the last few years some of the Universities have not renewed their contracts but there are still many who have.
The Australian government has looked in veto to get the laws to stop the Confucius
Institute by reviewing each contract before it is accepted by the school and universities. Nothing has
been done to stop them though.
Since July 2020 the Institute was handed over to the Chinese International Education Foundation
which has described itself as a private organization that has no ties to the Chinese government. The
Institute is still under fire with concerns about espionage, the improper use of teaching and
researching. There is also much concern over the censorship of teaching, groups and protests. The
Institute may have more of a hold of the universities criteria than the university thinks. In China
there are many topics which are not discussed and are considered to be against the government.
What that means is that there very well could be a soft power push here in Australia, the US, the UK
The Australian government has exercised its right to accept or reject the Confucius Institute by
reviewing all of the contracts that are sent to the universities and colleges. There are currently some
universities and colleges who are already declining contracts but there is no news as to the
government shutting down any Institutes or declining contracts.
At the moment there is some decline in the number of Institutes but will it be enough to hold back the soft power push of China and its communist ideals? We will have to wait and see where it takes us and if the push will be successful in each country currently with Confucius Institutes.
The need to keep an eye on these institutes is definitely there and the government needs to take
action if they find any proof of academic limitations, spy activity or anything that poses a threat to
Australia and its people. It is quite hard to prove any political motives in regards to these Institutes
but it is best to keep a careful eye on what is happening and how things progress. Perhaps a
watchdog would help to keep a better eye on what is being taught about China and its culture.