Parents Protest Opening of New Confucius Institute in TorontoPosted: 06/16/2014 7:18 pm
The fate of a newly-opened Confucius Institute in Toronto, Canada is in doubt after a committee of school trustees advocated breaking ties with the Chinese government, reports the Globe and Mail.
The Toronto District School Board passed a motion on June 11 to investigate allegations of censorship performed by the Chinese government after local parents expressed concern over Mandarin language classes offered by the institution to elementary school students.
Concerned with the influence the Chinese government has over his 13 year-old daughter, Toronto resident and FLG member Michael Lewis started a website called saynotoci.com to alert parents to the issues surrounding the Confucius Institute. An online petition has already gained 600 signatures.
As school boards around Canada deal with budget cuts and declining enrollment, Confucius Institutes offer a way to attract international students from China through the state agency known as Hanban.
Allegations against the Confucius Institute include censorship and disseminating propaganda. A job advertisement on the website for the University of Hunan says that “candidates will be assessed to ensure they meet political ideology requirements.” McMaster University has already cut its ties with Confucius Institutes over their hiring policies.
The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) issued a statement last December that urged universities and colleges to sever relationships with Confucius Institutes in Canada, saying they are “subsidized and supervised by the authoritarian government of China.”
Said James Turk, CAUT executive director: “They restrict the free discussion of topics Chinese authorities deem controversial and should have no place on our campuses.”
The board will vote on the committee’s recommendation on June 18.
The following are images taken from saynotoci.com: