China’s problem for American higher education

American and Chinese flags outside an American company building in Beijing, China on January 21, 2021. (Tingshu Wang / Reuters)

The Chinese regime is aggressive and domineering. He uses all tactics to increase his influence in the world.

And that poses challenges for our colleges and universities. This is what Nicholas Romanow argues in today’s Martin Center article.

He writes: “The university campus has become a battleground between the United States and China. Donations, research funding, and international students give colleges a financial and enrollment boost, but the connection to the Chinese government can also threaten academic freedom and, on some occasions, national security.

Undoubtedly, the most well-known aspect of Chinese influence in American higher education is the Confucius Institutes, funded by the Chinese government and obviously intended to instill in the minds of students its view of events. . Although they have some value in the language training they provide, they are also contrary to academic freedom.

Romanow proposes a course of action for American universities. “Where possible, universities should develop their own Asian language and study programs and avoid relying on Confucius Institutes as the sole resource for Chinese language and culture. Universities are platforms for open debate and should be able to accommodate a plurality of points of view. Ultimately, if universities decide to shut down Confucius Institutes, it should be based on the quality of their academic product, which Chinese expert Mary Gallagher says does not meet standards due to the structure of rigid functioning of these programs.

As they navigate the issues caused by China’s malignant influence, Romanow advises our higher education officials to remember that their primary concern should be for their students, not for any funds they might lose. ‘They do not accept the goals of the Chinese state.

Romanow sums up: “Faced with this Chinese challenge, universities must be nimble, creative and principled. Cultivating long-term expertise in China is imperative for universities to train future leaders in diplomacy, business and national security. Universities must maintain their openness while being aware of the unique challenge of Chinese influence. “

George Leef is the Editorial Content Director of the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal.


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