By Wang Qi, Sina English
Chinese teachers with J-1 visa working for Confucius Institutes in the US will have to leave the country by June 30, according to a notification issued on May 17 by the US State Department. It also stipulates that teaching will not be allowed in Confucius institutes unless they get certifications approved by the relevant U.S. authorities.
In reply, Head of China's National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language, also Confucius Institute Headquarters, wrote to presidents of U.S. universities, which have Confucius Institute set up, saying China respects the U.S. laws and regulations but is unwilling to see influence on volunteer programs of Chinese teaching.
While the notification has yet to reach all Confucius Institutes in the US, it still upset both the Chinese and the U.S. public.
According to the notification, all Confucius Institutes have to obtain relevant certifications before carrying on teaching activities. However, institutes of the kind do not have credit system; nor do they grant degrees. In fact, other cultural exchanges institutes such as Alliance Francais of France are not required to have themselves certified, thus making the demand even more unreasonable and confusing.
One speculation might be that, blind to the tremendous contribution of Confucius Institute to China -US cultural exchanges, some political groups in the U.S. are intentionally trying to politicize the cultural programs to add some weight to their political leverage. For instance, some representative criticized China for "propaganda" through public education on a hearing in March this year.