Nearly 24 hours before India begins a comprehensive review of the Confucius Institute’s local chapters and agreements with Indian universities, Beijing asked New Delhi on Tuesday to view higher education in an “objective and fair manner”.
The Chinese embassy requested India in a statement to avoid what it described as “trying to politicize normal cooperation” between the two countries, and to ensure peaceful people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
After intelligence services posed security issues around these institutes, the news channel had first revealed the government’s decision to examine the institutions. The agencies also noted that several national universities and institutes have gone ahead without the Centre ‘s specific permissions to sign pacts with Chinese institutes.
The review, to be undertaken jointly by the University Grants Commission of higher education regulator and the Ministry of Education, is scheduled for Wednesday.
A senior education ministry official rejected the insinuation that the review is a political exercise as claimed by the Chinese embassy. The Confucius Institutes was sponsored directly by the People’s Republic of China’s Ministry of Education, with the ostensible aim of promoting Chinese language and culture.
But they have also come in all around the world for condemnation, including the United States and the UK for trying to promote Chinese propaganda. Already, ranking members of the Chinese Communist Party Politburo Standing Committee have been quoted saying that Confucius Institutes are part of the overseas propaganda to project Beijing’s soft power.
Wednesday’s review is also scheduled to take up the 54 memoranda of understanding signed by central universities and institutions with Chinese universities. The review would also take a close look at legal problems, in addition to assessing the academic result of the agreements.
For one, if the universities, schools, and organizations received approval from the Center or External Affairs Ministry before signing the MoUs with Chinese universities or Hanban. “Since 1993, we have been negotiating peace and harmony with China. Yet it can not deter the PLA from attempting to nibble on the Control Line, “said a second government official, referring to Beijing ‘s demand for” objective and fairness.
“All we are doing is reviewing the functioning of institutes and operationalizing the MoUs. It is not done with a pre-determined mind to close them. We want to know what’s inside for students from India and India, “he added.
Nevertheless, officials at India’s security establishment have been calling for action against Chinese interests on the lines of banning more than 100 Chinese mobile apps and barring China-based companies from receiving government contracts without specific approval.
According to central government documents accessed by HT, the list of 54 MoUs that will be reviewed this week at a high-level committee are:
1. Jawaharlal Nehru University – (1) Tsinghua University, (2) Beijing Normal University, (3) Shandong University, Jinan, (4) Guiyang University, Guiyang, Guizhou, (5) Tongren University, Tongren, Guizhou, (6) Guizhou Minzu University, (7) Sichuan University of People’s Republic of China, (8) Jinan University, (9) Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences/ the Chinese [Kunming] Academy of South and Southeast Asian Studies, (10) Yunnan Minzu University, (11) Shenzhen University, Guangdong, (12) Renmin University of China, Beijing
2. IIT Bombay – (1) Central University of Finance and Economics, (2) Tongji University
IIT Kharagpur – (1) Tianjin University, (2) Henan Polytechnic University [HPU], (3) Chang Gung University
3. IIT Guwahati – (1) Hunan University, (2) Shantou University, (3) Soochow University, (4) the University of Macau, (5) Yunnan University
4. IIT Madras – (1) Beijing Jiaotong University, (2) Huazhong University of Sciences and Technology, (3) Shanghai International Studies University, (4) Dalian University
5. IIT Gandhinagar – (1) Confucius Institute Headquarters [HANBAN]
6. IIT Roorkee – (1) The Center for Monsoon System Research of the Institute of Atmospheric Physics at Chinese Academy of Sciences, (2) East China Normal University [ECNU]
7. IIT Delhi – (1) Chang’an University, (2) City University Of Hong Kong Hiksar Peoples & Republic of China, (3) China Jiliang University, (4) Nanyang Normal University
8. IIT Bhubaneswar – (1) Engineering Centre of Materials, Manufacturing, School of Materials Science & Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong – University, China [during the state visit of President of India to China]
9. NIT Surathkal – (1) Institute of Radio Frequency and optoelectronics Integrated Circuits plus State Key Lab of Bioelectronics, Southeast University
10. NIT Warangal – (1) Chang’an University
11. NIT Durgapur – (1) Tianjin Polytechnic University, (2) Hohai University, (3) Integrated Risk Governance Project, Future Earth Program [hereafter IRGP/FE], Beijing Normal University, (4) Southwest University for Nationalities [SWUN], Chengdu, (5) Beijing Normal University, (6) School of Materials Science and Engineering, Jiangsu University, (7) Hunan University, Changsha, Hunan
12. IISER Kolkata – (1) Hubei University, (2) Changshu Institute of Technology
13. IISC Bangalore – (1) China University of Geosciences
14. Banaras Hindu University – (1) Soochow University, School of Law, Taipei, Taiwan, Republic of China (2)Beijing Language and Culture University, (3) Beijing Foreign Studies University, (4) North China University of Water Resources & Electric Power, (5) Dali University
15. Central University of Punjab – (1) Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, (2) Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan
16. Manipur University – (1) Yunnan Open University