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UMass: Don't Renew the Confucius Institute Contract

Say no to Confucius InstitutesUMass Boston signed a deal with the Chinese-government backed Confucius Institute in 2006, putting students and curriculum at risk for censorship by Chinese authorities. But their contract is set for renewal in April this year!

Sign this petition to urge UMass President Marty Meehan to close down the Confucius Institute at UMass Boston and shut the Chinese government out of their classrooms once and for all.

Over 100 Chinese government-backed Confucius Institutes in America are making an insidious attempt to restrict academic freedom by silencing debate on human rights and other sensitive issues, and whitewash its atrocious human rights records in Tibet and China.

 

Recipients

  • President Marty Meehan
  • Chancellor Barry Mills
  • Secretary Jim Peyser

Message

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to express my serious concern over the Confucius Institute operating on the UMass Boston campus, and to urge you to use your leadership to ensure that UMass does not renew the Confucius contract when it expires on April 8, 2018.

The threat Confucius Institutes pose to the integrity of an academic institution like UMass cannot be overstated. This is because they are controlled by the highest levels of the Chinese government and are a stated tool in Beijing's global quest to build soft power. Though marketed as benign language and culture programs, they are designed to use their foothold in prestigious academic institutions to influence and steer academic discourse, and ultimately aim to shape public opinion on China and key political and human rights issues such as Tibet, Taiwan, and the movement for democracy in China. As a result of their presence on campus, important political and human rights issues are being silenced, whether through the Institutes' direct intervention, or pre-emptive self censorship by academics, students and university staff.

Furthermore, I am deeply disturbed by the terms to which the university agreed in order to host the Institute. According to the contract signed on April 8, 2013, UMass Boston agreed to follow Chinese law (Article 5.5), cede academic control to Beijing (Article 5.4), and keep the contract confidential (Article 14). It is unconscionable that UMass Boston would agree to follow the "laws and regulations" of China - a one-party authoritarian state - in the operation of the Confucius Institute, as well as agree to cede academic control to the Chinese authorities. Furthermore, agreeing to keep the contract confidential calls into question the university's commitment to openness and transparency which we must demand of a public institution.

As you may know, on February 13th, FBI director Christopher Wray testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee and stated his serious concerns over Confucius Institutes and the relationship they may have to Chinese government intelligence gathering operations. He even disclosed that "investigative steps" have been initiated with some Confucius Institutes. Clearly, the UMass Boston Confucius Institute represents a potential threat to national security, as well as a serious risk for UMass' reputation. This is reason enough to end the relationship.

As the UMass Boston Confucius contract will expire in April 8, 2018, I urge you to ensure the contract is not renewed and that this relationship with the Chinese government is ended once and for all.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Contact

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