Roberts, “Why Confucius Rubs America the Wrong Way”

Moss Roberts has published an opinion piece in the Asia Times entitled “Why Confucius Rubs America the Wrong Way.” Roberts begins:

The campaign to eliminate the Confucius Institutes from American education marks a level of ideological insecurity that has characterized this country for a long time. Willful ignorance about China has been an important part of that insecurity. The mission of the institutes is not ambitious; it is mainly devoted to offering Chinese language courses in colleges that lack them or have fledgling programs. As for Confucius himself, in America, interest in his thinking has never been strong; in China relatively greater attention is given to American thinkers and writers.

4 replies on “Roberts, “Why Confucius Rubs America the Wrong Way””

  1. Apart from the wide-ranging pro-Beijing apologetics – which I won’t bother to tackle – the author’s attempt to hitch negative judgements about Confucius Institutes to opposition to Confucianism by American elites is a red herring. Apart from their name, Confucius Institutes have very little to do with Confucian teaching, and merely teach Chinese language and culture; the main criticism is that they are Trojan horses for United Front influence operations and sharp power, by a CCP regime that itself only takes superficial interest in Confucianism. It doesn’t help their image that they are embedded in foreign universities, rather than being standalone cultural/educational institutions like the British Council or the Goethe Institute.
    A while back I wrote an op-ed to shed some light on the issues with Confucius Institutes in Japan, Australia and New Zealand, which I’m personally more familiar with –

  2. This is eerily accurate and quite depressing. Americans seem incorrigible. Say one not-nasty thing about China and your head is at risk. Try to understand anything about the Chinese or consider their side and you’re instantly branded an evil commie. The antisiniticism is distinct on all points of the political spectrum.

    Without any success in breaking through this wall of ignorance, I don’t see how a harmonious future could possibly be in the stars for the 21st century, which we’ll need to combat the global threats facing us. The Chinese fascinated the founding fathers as well as many of the philosophers of the Enlightenment who preceded them intellectually. But the Yellow Peril has always sold well, as people like Peter Navaro write books on China despite, as his university colleagues who actually study China say, having little real knowledge of anything about China and no interest in learning, now are dictating China policy in the US government.

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