At the urging of Students for a Free Tibet, Germany’s Stuttgart Media University shut down its China-backed Confucius Institute.
Students for a Free Tibet has been promoting the "Say No to China’s Confucius Institutes" campaign for the last several months in an attempt to pressure the university to abandon ties with the Chinese backed program. They say that maintaining it goes against democratic values and freedom of expression.
This is the ninth instance of a university abandoning ties with the Institute. Other schools that have cut ties include the University of Chicago and Penn State.
The Confucius Institute is a nonprofit, public educational organization affiliated with the Ministry of Education of the Peoples Republic of China, with an aim to "promote Chinese language and culture." Critics say the institute presents a selective and politicized portrayal of China as a vehicle to advance the regime’s soft power on an international scale.
Tenzin Dolkar, the executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, called Stuttgart’s separation from the Confucius Institute a victory for human rights.
"We applaud Stuttgart Media University’s decision to terminate their problematic partnership with the Chinese government backed Confucius Institute and commend them for being the first out of 16 in Germany to do so," she said in a release. "Allowing the Chinese government to assume authority on human rights in China and on Tibet on our campuses poses a serious threat to academic freedom. We congratulate Stuttgart Media University for taking this step to protect its academic integrity."
Students for a Free Tibet, a student-run organization with chapters in dozens of colleges around the world, advocates for Tibetan autonomy from China and focuses on human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese regime. Tibetan dissidents reject Chinese imposed policy, alongside being discriminated against by the Chinese regional majority.