U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, a Republican who represents the state of Florida, has suggested to the University of South Florida that it should end the USF-QDU Confucius Institute project that the 2 universities initiated in 2008.
According to the school’s webpage for the Confucius Institute program, the USF has “recently became the partner to jointly operate the Confucius Institute.” This recent change in control over the project may be an attempt by USF to attenuate the soft power of their Chinese partners.
For more information on Qingdao University, check out this pdf of the USF English introduction to Qingdao University.
Other concerns about the Chinese language teaching programs have prompted other universities in the United States to sever ties with the Confucius Institute. According to China Daily, there’s nothing to worry about.
Check out the article about Rubio’s letter from the USF student newspaper online:
USF started a partnership with the Confucius Institute in 2008, but a letter sent from Sen. Marco Rubio (R) is calling for the university to consider terminating the agreement.
“There are presently more than 100 Confucius Institutes, in addition to Confucius Classrooms at the K-12 level in the United States, including several in the state of Florida,” Rubio wrote. “These institutes are overseen by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education, and are instructed to only teach versions of Chinese history, culture or current events that are explicitly approved by the Chinese Government and Communist Party.”
USF was the first university in Florida to found a Confucius Institute when creating a partnership with Qingdao University. According to the USF World website, the institute is supported by Qingdao and the Chinese Ministry of Education.”