Almost all of the China-funded Confucius Institutes in the U.S. have closed, a new report has found, highlighting how soured ties between Beijing and Washington have led U.S. universities to abandon what was once seen as a cheap way to offer Chinese classes.
All but five of the institutes, which were created in 2004 to promote Chinese language, are now closed, the Government Accountability Office said. That’s compared with 2019, when the GAO found 96 Confucius Institutes operating in 44 states. At the time, only six states had no colleges or universities with the centers.
The decision tracks with a sharp spike in tension between the U.S. and China dating to the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump that’s seen a rise in export-controls, sanctions, tariffs and repeated diplomatic incidents. The two sides are only just beginning to try to get ties back on track, and U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at an APEC summit in San Francisco later this month.