Letter: The Chinese Language and Culture Institute does not push propaganda

The Editor, 

RE: “Confucius Inst. rebrand a myopic ‘sleight of hand,’” (The Tri-City News, Thursday, Oct.22)

In SD43, the Confucius Institute has been renamed, removing the “Confucius” and now being called the Chinese Language and Culture Institute. The program was no longer funded by Hanban, China’s Education Ministry, but the South China Normal University located in Guangzhou. Despite being told that the program is non-profit and non-governmental, people are constantly doubting it, saying that China is trying to influence the school system. 

Personally, after attending the Confucius programs for four to five years now, I think that these opinions are absolute garbage. In none of the textbooks has there been a trace of Communist propaganda like so many people have claimed. There are a couple of pieces in the textbook that talk about Chinese culture, like the Mid-Autumn festival, but that’s pretty much it. If anyone says that these are also ways of “brainwashing” students, there are literal lessons talking about other people like Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin. There has been no attempt to take over the education.

People have also argued that the teachers would transfer Communist ideals to students. However, the teachers that I’ve had never mentioned anything about that stuff. They stayed focused on the class and were relatively easy-going. Also, to prevent any claims of bias, I’m not Communist and don’t support it. I’m just stating the things I’ve seen as a student of this program, instead of firing off random and ridiculous claims like so many people outside of the district. Those people who have not even seen the program and have no right to criticize something they haven’t experienced for themselves. 

I understand the renaming as a part of showing that the Institute of being no longer funded by China’s Ministry of Education but the complaining of the program itself is utter nonsense. SD43 has no reason to keep any Communist activity under the radar so stop saying there is. Also, throwing things in like the fact that British Columbians have overdosed on substances transported from China is a pointless thing to say. That has nothing to do with the Confucius Institute and China has no power over a person’s decision to overdose. 

Stop spewing out facts that don’t support your claims. Just be thankful that we even have a chance to learn more about the Chinese language and culture while we can, considering the tense relations between Canada and China over the years. 

Adam Long


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