Skip to main content
Welcome to
super saver spring
offer ends april 20
save over $140
Sale ends in
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
Welcome to
super saver spring
$0.99
per week for 24 weeks
save over $140
// //

China accused the United States on Friday of trying to “demonize and stigmatize” relations between the two countries, in a scathing attack on the Trump administration’s designation of Chinese-funded language and culture programs in the U.S. as foreign missions of the Chinese Communist Party.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said branches of the Confucius Institute U.S. Center operating at U.S. schools and colleges are a “bridge and link to help people from all over the world learn Chinese, understand China, and strengthen educational and cultural exchanges and co-operation between China and other countries.”

Zhao said the accusations against the institutes were without basis and were motivated by “ideological prejudice and self-interest.”

Story continues below advertisement

“The relevant U.S. approach is to demonize and stigmatize the normal operation of China-U. S. co-operation projects. We strongly deplore and oppose it,” Zhao said at a daily briefing. He said China would “reserve the right to make further responses to this matter.”

The designation requires the Confucius Institute U.S. Center, based in Washington, to submit reports to the U.S. government about its funding, personnel, curriculum and other activities in the United States.

“We’re not kicking them out. We’re just highlighting the fact that these folks do work for the Ministry of Education of the (Chinese) Communist Party,” Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell said in making the announcement Thursday.

About 500 kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms are affiliated with the Confucius Institute in the U.S., Stilwell said. The institute also operates on 65 U.S. campuses, less than before because some universities have closed the programs over concerns they were spreading Chinese government propaganda and interfering in academic independence over issues such as Hong Kong and Tibet.

China has cast the institutes as its own version of language and culture centres operated by the U.S., France, Germany, Britain and other nations, but controversially has sought to embed them in schools rather than having them operate independently.

The designation is the latest in a series of Trump administration decisions against China as tensions between the two nations rise over trade, technology, human rights and the coronavirus, which was first reported in Wuhan, China.

Last month, the U.S. ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston to close, prompting China to shutter the American Consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu in a tit-for-tat action that some have heralded as a sign of a new Cold War between the two.

Story continues below advertisement

The U.S. has also added Chinese state media to the list of organizations that should be considered “foreign missions” because of their ties to the Chinese government and Communist Party. The U.S. subsequently cut the number of Chinese reporters allowed in the country, to which China responded by expelling American reporters in China.

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies