I read about this in a recent issue of National Review, but here's a straight news story:
The University of Chicago has suspended negotiations to renew its agreement to host a Confucius Institute after objecting to an unflattering article that appeared in the Chinese press. The decision follows a petition, signed by more than 100 faculty members this spring, calling for the closure of the institute. The petition raised concerns that in hosting the Chinese government-funded center for research and language teaching, Chicago was ceding control over faculty hiring, course content, and programming to Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing, which is also known as Hanban.
Since then, Penn State has dumped its Confucius Institute program. The American Association of University Professors has recommended "universities cease their involvement in Confucius Institutes unless the agreement between the university and Hanban is renegotiated". I'm slightly amazed that I find myself linking to an article in The Nation subheadlined:
Confucius Institutes censor political discussions and restrain the free exchange of ideas. Why, then, do American universities sponsor them?
But (as indicated above) it's not just left-wing AAUP/Nation types sounding the alarm. The "This Week" blurb in National Review cheering the Chicago decision, was even more straightforward: "Confucius Institutes are learning centers that are funded, staffed, and controlled by the Chinese Communist Party." (Yes, that's a bad thing.)
It's an unusual issue that unites National Review and The Nation.
Why am I interested? Because the University Near Here has a Confucius Institute too. I've heard nary a peep, pro or con, about it. We lead a sheltered life.