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New visa policy sets barriers for Confucius Institutes in US

By Wen Xian, Zhang Yang and Zhengqi (People's Daily)

16:19, May 25, 2012

Edited and translated by People's Daily Online

Chinese teachers at the Confucius Institutes in the United States who hold a J-1 visa will have to leave the country before June 30 as their visas will not be renewed, according to a policy statement issued by the U.S. State Department on May 17.

The department said that the teachers can apply for another visa under the appropriate category after they return to China. Even Americans themselves are shocked and confused by this statement.

The director-general of China's Hanban, or Confucius Institute Headquarters, sent a letter to the presidents of U.S. universities that host Confucius Institutes on May 20, saying that China respects U.S. laws and regulations, but does not want to see voluntary projects being disrupted.

If the new policy goes into effect, the increasingly popular Chinese language courses will be disrupted by the shortage of teachers, which will damage the interests of the universities and students involved, the director-general added.

The director-general told the U.S.-based Chronicle of Higher Education magazine on May 23 that he is deeply concerned about the U.S. State Department's statement on the review of the academic viability of the Confucius Institutes in the country.

"I am deeply concerned about the policy's impact on the Confucius Institutes established by U.S. educational institutions and Hanban as well as Chinese universities."

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Read the Chinese version: 美国签证新规为难孔子学院教师


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