UK Mulls Confucius Institutes Closure, Inviting Taiwan's Teachers to Host Lessons on Chinese Culture
© AP Photo / Alastair GrantChinese President Xi Jinping speaks as he attends the opening of the UCL Institute of Education Confucius Institute annual conference in London, Thursday, Oct. 22, 2015. Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Britain Monday for a four-day state visit as part of a push to increase trade ties between the two countries.
© AP Photo / Alastair Grant
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The United Kingdom seeks to phase out Chinese state-linked Confucius Institutes and invite teachers from Taiwan to provide alternative programs for teaching the Chinese language, the Guardian reported on Sunday.
According to the newspaper, around 30 branches of the Confucius Institute are operating in the country, teaching people the Chinese language and culture.
Until recently, these schools were viewed positively by the UK government, but the situation started shifting as ties between London and Beijing turned sour. In late August, before Liz Truss became the new prime minister, The Times reported that she had plans to declare China an "acute threat" to the country's national security if she was elected.
Now, London intends to cut ties with the Confucius Institute and create alternative language programs with the participation of teachers from Taiwan. A group of UK members of parliament is already in talks with Taiwan over this proposal.
In June, China Research Group published a study which revealed that nearly all UK government spending on teaching Chinese at schools, which amounted to at least 27 million pounds (over $30 million) from 2015 to 2024, was channeled through the network of Confucius Institutes.
Official relations between Beijing and Taipei broke down in 1949 after the Kuomintang forces led by Chiang Kai-shek were defeated by the Chinese Communist Party in the civil war, and moved to Taiwan. Business and informal contacts between the island and China resumed in the late 1980s. Since the early 1990s, the two sides maintain contacts through nongovernmental organizations.