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New US visa policy absurd and irresponsible

By Huang Qing (People's Daily Overseas Edition)

16:57, May 25, 2012

Edited and Translated by People's Daily Online

The U.S. State Department issued a policy directive on May 17 requiring Chinese teachers at the Confucius Institutes in the United States who hold a J-1 visa to leave the country before June 30, which has caused quite a stir in both countries.

All Confucius Institutes in the United States were established at the request of U.S. institutions, and have received great help, including volunteer teachers, from the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters. Eighty-one Confucius Institutes and more than 300 Confucius Classrooms have been set up in the United States since the University of Maryland and China’s Nankai University jointly established the first Confucius Institute in the country. About 127 of the over 300 Confucius Classrooms are affiliated with Confucius Institutes. Along with China’s rapid economic development, Americans are increasingly aware of the importance of learning the Chinese language. U.S. President Barack Obama announced the “100,000 Strong” Initiative to send more American students to study in China to learn the Chinese language. Confucius Institutes have developed rapidly in the country in recent years due to the increasing demand among Americans for Chinese language courses.

Confusingly, the State Department suddenly “called a unilateral halt” to the Confucius Institute program, despite knowing that it would damage the interests of the U.S. educational institutions and students concerned.

The department explained that the Confucius Institutes must apply for U.S. accreditation in order to offer teaching opportunities in the country. The problem is that Confucius Institutes, which do not grant credits or degrees, do not meet the prerequisites for applying for such accreditation. Furthermore, the department did not spell out how the institutes would be accredited. There must be something unusual behind the policy directive. After all, Confucius Institutes have been operating in the country as a platform for Chinese language teaching and cultural exchange for nearly eight years.

A Congressman accused China of spreading its propaganda by exploiting private media and public education at a hearing titled “The Price of Public Diplomacy with China” held by the U.S. Congress in March. In fact, many countries are making efforts to promote their respective languages and cultures abroad, and the United States has spent the most money and made the greatest effort in this regard. English courses are popular in China, and the language is even taught at the kindergarten level. Many foreigners are teaching English in China. By contrast, certain Americans are just too nervous about the popularity of Chinese language courses in their country, showing a lack of cultural confidence. It is incredibly immature and absurd of the U.S. State Department to issue a policy directive just because of certain people’s unnecessary worries.

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Leave your comment3 comments

  1. Name

Jeff Lane at 2012-06-1514.154.129.*
The U.S. Government does not want Chinese people in their country that can easily dispute their anti-Chinese propaganda. They constantly portray China through their media as a totalitarian state with no regard for the welfare of its" people. Soon, they will start to ban all Chinese students and tourist so their people don"t find out the truth about China and reflect on the disasterous lies, corruption and failings of their own government
PD User at 2012-05-2580.94.16.*
2012-5-25.Evident example how teacher US Departament State to break right"s of human.
Ben at 2012-05-2568.191.181.*
Just as China is sweeping out illegal foreigners, the US has the right to do the same, especially since many (but not all) of the "teachers" in the Confucius Institutes are nothing more than cultural spies. Can you imagine a "Washington Institute" connected to the US government being allowed to open branches in China?

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