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Parliamentary questions
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10 December 2020
Question for written answer  E-006751/2020
to the Commission
Rule 138
Filip De Man (ID)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Confucius Institutes in the EU

The People’s Republic of China currently has almost 200 Confucius Institutes in the EU. Already back in 2015, the Belgian State Security Services gave a negative opinion in respect of these institutes, and by the end of this year the Free University of Brussels will end its cooperation with the Confucius Institute in Brussels following the expulsion of its Chinese director from the country for espionage. Sweden has already closed all Confucius Institutes there. In Germany, universities in Dortmund and Hamburg are ceasing cooperation with them. A China expert from the University of Nottingham (UK) has referred to the institutes as a propaganda machine.

In 2018, a Chinese party leader instructed ‘these institutes to focus more on building a socialist culture’ and former Chinese propaganda minister Li Changchung stated that they operate as overseas propaganda instruments. The Chinese Government is in fact using universities to steal scientific and technological knowledge.

Following the unmasking of the Director of the Confucius Institute at the Free University of Brussels, the Commission made a number of recommendations, including the appointment of counterintelligence officers in universities.

1. What has this recommendation actually led to?

2. Does the Commission plan on calling on Member States to close all Confucius Institutes?

3. What has been the outcome of consultations with China on this matter?

Original language of question: NL
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