According to a new US State Department directive last week, Confucius Institutes in the US must obtain American accreditation. The directive also says that some academics at these institutes who are holding J-1 visas will not get their visas extended, which means they will have to leave the US. If the directive comes into force, Confucius Institutes and Schools in the US will face a lot of trouble. The US obviously wants this.
Confucius Institutes have expanded their global presence in recent years. There are now 691 Confucius Institutes and Schools, 69 of which are in the US. Their rapid development can be partly attributed to China's active promotion, but the decisive factor is the great demand for learning Chinese.
After Spanish, which was brought by Latino immigrants, Chinese has become the first foreign language taught in the US. The arrival of Confucius Institutes and Americans' eagerness to learn Chinese are a perfect match. The Confucius Institutes in the US are established in accordance with the requirements of American universities and colleges. The Chinese-teaching volunteers are actually invited by US academies.
US academies will bear the loss if Chinese teachers and volunteers leave the US. What China loses is a chance to promote its culture. Compared with the US' need for Chinese-training talents to better communicate with China, China's demand is not so urgent.
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