Pompeo wants all Confucius Institutes in US closed by end of year

Washington associates China's Confucius Institutes with espionage activities

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(Facebook, Confucius Institute U.S. Center photo)

(Facebook, Confucius Institute U.S. Center photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed hopes on Tuesday (Sept. 1) that every Confucius Institute in the U.S. would be shuttered by the end of 2020.

The top American diplomat told Fox Business Network that the Chinese government-funded facilities have engaged in espionage activities at American colleges. "I think everyone’s coming to see the risk associated with them," he said.

The U.S. last month designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS) as a foreign mission, requiring it to inform the government about its funding, personnel, and other information. Around 500 K-12 classrooms are affiliated with the institute, according to David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asia and Pacific Affairs.

The State Department alleged that the CIUS was set up to “advance Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign.” China has fired back by accusing Washington of “demonizing and stigmatizing the normal operation of China-U.S. cooperation projects.”

Japan has also joined the ranks of countries casting a wary eye at Confucius Institutes. Last week, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the government will keep a closer watch on around 15 such facilities on university campuses across the country, including the prestigious Waseda University, wrote Sankei Shimbun.