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“It’s been very much a partnership,” she said.

Ms. Brzezinski said that, in theory, the University of Minnesota and Hanban should share her center’s operating expenses, but in reality, more than half of the money comes from China. Still, the Chinese exercise “no oversight on expenditures,” she said.Analysts acknowledged the differences between the Chinese and American centers but also pointed out similarities.

“The U.S. centers are much more explicitly associated with the U.S. government, but on the other hand, they both have the same function, which is public diplomacy and outreach, and trying to present a version of the respective country,” said Dean Cheng, a research fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Mr. Cheng said China’s concerns about prospective U.S. centers most likely have to do with human rights, which are part of Washington’s outreach around the world.

He also noted that it is almost impossible for Washington to find a Chinese university to partner with that is not at least partially controlled by the Chinese government, which is not a problem in the United States.

There is an asymmetry between U.S. and Chinese funding because Beijing is better at “putting its money where its mouth is,” Mr. Cheng said.

“What are our priorities? There will be a number of opportunities for President Obama to raise the issue with President Hu [Jintao] next week” during the global nuclear security summit Mr. Obama is hosting, Mr. Cheng said.

However, he expressed doubt the administration will risk new tensions with China, given its decision to delay a report on its currency policies not to anger Mr. Hu before his trip to Washington. U.S. officials have long called on Beijing to stop artificially keeping the yuan’s value down, which has been good for Chinese exports but bad for American imports.

“We have to push for greater access for our public diplomacy centers, and that requires resolve and negotiating,” Mr. Cheng said.