- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2020

The longest-operating Confucius Institute in the U.S. is set to close nearly a year after Congress passed legislation that would restrict federal funds if the Chinese government-supported program continued.

The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed amid heightened tensions with China, included language that required U.S. universities to either continue their Confucius Institute or receive financial support from the Defense Department.

“After evaluating the impact of this legislation on UMD, it became evident that we can no longer host CIM,” wrote University of Maryland President Wallace Loh on Jan. 17.

He explained the university had alerted the Confucius Institute headquarters in Beijing that the college would be ending the agreement, which began in 2004.

According to the organization’s website, “Confucius Institute at Maryland (CIM) promotes the understanding of China today through the study of Chinese language, culture, ethics, and philosophy.”

The Confucius Institute provided Chinese language teachers and educational materials to members of the organization, but did not offer college credit for the work.

The CIM is just one of 90 programs in universities across the country who face the decision of losing federal funds or maintaining the program.

“The U.S.-China relationship is of global and strategic importance,” Mr. Loh wrote. “UMD remains committed to education and scholarship in Chinese language and culture.”

• Lauren Toms can be reached at lmeier@washingtontimes.com.

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