Mon, 12 Apr 2021

Washington [US], March 4 (ANI): President Joe Biden's nominee for Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director William Burns on Wednesday suggested to the Republicans that the Confucius Institutes should be barred from the US public schools and universities.

"I think what the Confucius Institutes do, and I'm no expert on them, is to promote a narrative of Xi Jinping's China, which is designed to build sympathy for what is, in my view, a quite aggressive leadership, which is engaged in conduct and conducted an adversarial approach to relations with the United States," said Burns, former State Department diplomat to Russia and Biden's CIA nominee.

Confucius Institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries.

China provides the start-up funds, the salaries, the teaching materials, and sometimes even the buildings for Confucius Institutes.

The former US envoy to Russia said that these institutes pose a risk to the institutions in the US.

"So in that sense, that particular dimension of foreign influence operations constitutes a genuine risk...And so my advice for any institutions in the United States, including academic institutions, is to be extraordinarily careful of what the motives are for a variety of institutions like that and to be very careful in engaging them," he added.

According to a report by Fox News, prior to the committee's meeting, Burns said, "Beijing tries to advance its soft power and pro-China propaganda through cultural and educational programs at US academic institutions".

"Programs such as Confucius Institutes fund Chinese-language learning and provide the CCP direct access to university officials. Beijing uses this access to spread positive portrayals of China, and steer conversations from topics sensitive to the CCP," he added.

Last month, Biden underscored the crackdown in Hong Kong, human rights abuses in Xinjiang during his first conversation with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.

The US President also underlined Beijing's coercive and unfair economic practices and military aggression actions in the region, including toward Taiwan.

The ties between the two countries had deteriorated under the Trump administration, over human rights abuses in Xinjiang, Hong Kong protests, unfair trade practices by Beijing, lack of transparency concerning the pandemic, and China's military aggression in various parts of the world, including Taiwan. (ANI)

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