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University of Chicago Cuts Ties With Confucius Institute

CHICAGO ― The University of Chicago cut ties with a Chinese language and research center following a Chinese media report that suggested the university had bowed to the authority of the institute’s leader in Beijing.

The university said in a statement Thursday that University of Chicago would not renew its agreement with the Confucius Institute for a second term. The current agreement ends today.

The statement said the university and the Confucius Institute Headquarters, known as Hanban, “have engaged in several months of good faith efforts and steady progress toward a new agreement.”

“However, recently published comments about (the University of Chicago) in an article about the director-general of Hanban are incompatible with a continued equal partnership,” the statement said.

Professors in the U.S. and Canada have urged administrators to end relationships with the institute. They’re concerned universities have allowed the Chinese government, which funds the institutes, to supervise staff and curriculum.

About 100 University of Chicago professors signed a petition in May in support of terminating the program, which started in 2010.

The publication Liberation Daily, or Jiefang Daily, run by the Communist Party committee of Shanghai, referenced the petition in an article last week. It quoted Xu Lin, chief executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters, as suggesting the university had bowed to the Chinese group.

The university said institute programs already underway will continue through completion.

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