UK Bans the Controversial Confucius Institutes - Sunak Finds China the Biggest Threat

Meridean Overseas
Meridean Overseas

Updated On 01 November 2022 & Read Time 3 minutes



The UK Prime Minister and former British Chancellor Rishi Sunak promised to ban all Confucius Institutes in the United Kingdom. He strategically planned the actions to work against the Confucius Institutes and Chinese "technological aggression". There are about 30 Confucius Institutes in the UK- the highest in the world. Further, Sunak called China the "largest threat" to Britain.

What are Confucius Institutes UK?

Confucius Institutes are public educational institutions that promote Chinese culture and language. The programs at the Confucius Institutes are funded by the Chinese International Education Foundation under the Ministry of Education of the Chinese government. It aims to encourage local Chinese teaching internationally and facilitate cultural exchange. The Confucius Institute program was formerly under Hanban, an organisation affiliated with the Chinese government. The institutes operate in collaboration with local educational institutes worldwide. Both the local institute and Hanban share the financing or the profit. The Chinese government spends about $10 billion yearly to promote these initiatives. Since 2004, Confucius Institutes have set up around 525 institutes in 146 countries and have enrolled up to 9 million students.

Purpose of Confucius Institutes Ban in UK

Many countries have criticised the institutes as the Chinese government is taking undue advantage of suppressing academic freedom and influencing Chinese culture internationally. Also, the Confucius institutions act as soft power hubs of China in the UK. Sunak added that he would no longer allow hostile Chinese operations and interference in British society and higher education. Also, these institutes are no longer only focused on cultural promotion but also on spying the government activity and stealing their secrets. These are the core reasons that the UK banned Confucius Institutes. Sunak has detected all Confucius institute locations and decided to ban them all. Moreover, he said, "China is one of the biggest threats to the world's security and prosperity."

Why is China a Threat to the UK?

Various concerns are raised over foreign policy and security challenges faced by China. Recent reports by Britain say that Beijing is trying to steal the intellectual property of British businesses, including pharmaceutical companies and universities. Cyber-attacks and espionage on UK's activity are primary reasons for the threat. Sunak has accused China is aiming to steal British technology. Also, it is suppressing British currency to rig the global economy in its favour continually. Apart from the UK, China is also a threat to countries like US and India.

Sunak Calls Attack on China

Sunak pledged to strengthen Britain's security services to keep its "industrial espionage" in check. He has also committed to detecting and reviewing all UK-Chinese research partnerships that could be advantageous to China's technology or have military applications. Sunak also added that he would increase the MI5's reach to offer more support to British businesses and universities to hold Chinese industrial espionage and help companies protect their intellectual property. Further, Sunak also planned out a series of plans to build a military alliance of free nations to defend against Chinese technological aggression.

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