"Confucius Institutes are an important part of our overseas propaganda set-up"
- Li Changchun, former head of propaganda, Communist Party of China
In recent years, Confucius Institutes have become increasingly controversial, with academic organisations speaking out against them and a number of universities closing them down. The Chinese staff employed in them are politically vetted and forbidden to discuss sensitive subjects like Tibet. Academics and students have also raised concerns that the financial investment in the universities by China will deter them from teaching about issues China objects to and may even prevent host universities taking other actions China may object to - such as inviting the Dalai Lama to speak.
Concerns have also been raised about the Chinese staff employed, who face political discrimination when recruited and who are questioned about their discussions with students on their return. At least one has sought asylum in the west because of that discrimination.
You can help us challenge China's influence: contact your Minister for Education and demand that Confucius Classrooms are properly scrutinised.
Teachers and students
Where China's government is trying to win friends, it is vital that young people are able to get a full picture of China as a country, not just what its unelected government wants them to learn.
Free Tibet has developed educational resources in English and Chinese which provide a comprehensive picture of Tibet and links to authoritative sources of information about human and civil rights in China.