Asia

UK lawmakers urge Taiwan to counter China’s Confucius Institutes

LONDON, Aug 13 (CNA) British MP Alicia Kearns raises public understanding of Taiwan as Britons become increasingly distrustful of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) He called on Taiwan to play a stronger role in teaching Mandarin in Britain.

In a recent CNA interview, a Conservative lawmaker said he hoped the Taiwanese government would “actively reach out to the British government” to help Britons improve their Chinese language proficiency.

Kerns, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, proposed an amendment to the Higher Education Bill in June that would have given the government the power to close China’s Confucius Institutes over concerns about academic freedom.

If British people want to study Chinese at universities or other schools, they can only attend Confucius Institutes, which “do not teach accurate history” and are under the control of the Chinese state. Mr Kearns said.

“It needs to end,” she said, calling the Confucius Institutes, which are closely tied to China’s education ministry, “a weapon of the Chinese state” and harmful at the level of discussion and understanding of China in Britain. added.

Kearns said Taiwan’s equivalent of the Confucius Institutes would expand British interest in Taiwan beyond its primary focus of defense and security, and explore its history, culture, bubble tea, semiconductor industry and other successes. said to include cases, or trade ties and other exchanges between the two countries.

She added that the change would shift the conversation about Taiwan in the UK to one “away from Taiwan juxtaposed with the Communist Party of China” and “only about friendship with Taiwanese friends.”

The UK now has 30 university-based Confucius Institutes, the most in the world, according to a June report by the China Studies Group, which was founded by Conservative MPs in 2020.

British schools and universities rely on a network of 30 Confucius Institutes to coordinate Mandarin language teaching, funding and expertise, the group’s report said.

Late last month, Rishi Sunak, the incoming Conservative Party leader and British prime minister contender, said he would close all 30 Confucius Institutes after being accused of being weak against China and Russia.

“Unfortunately, I wouldn’t say it’s not a welcome move,” Kearns said.

The average member of the UK public and arguably conservative voters are “very aware of the Chinese Communist Party’s threat in terms of encroaching on our digital freedoms and our liberties.” she said.

Asked about his main concerns in the UK’s bilateral relationship with China, Kearns said one of his biggest priorities is respecting personal data.

China is building a totalitarian state based on data from people around the world, including video surveillance company Hikvision, social media app TikTok and Huawei Technologies, Kearns said.

“They are sending data back to China, AI data, hospital data, airport data, prison data, school data. said Kearns.

Kearns, meanwhile, said the Foreign Affairs Committee will visit Taiwan this year to learn about Taiwan’s experience in addressing China’s hybrid war campaign and other issues related to trade deals between Britain and Taiwan.

The visit was originally scheduled for February but was postponed after some lawmakers tested positive for COVID-19, she said.

Kearns did not disclose the date of the visit, citing security reasons, but said plans would not be affected by China’s “unjustifiable” reaction to US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to Taiwan. .

The Guardian reported on August 2 that the chairman of the commission, Tom Tugendhat, will lead a delegation to Taiwan in November or December.

If realized, it will be the first visit by the committee to Taiwan since 2006.

The British Ambassador to China, Zheng Zeguang, said at a press conference on August 2, the day Pelosi launched her visit to Taiwan, that if a British parliamentarian visits Taiwan, it would have a serious impact on Sino-British relations. I urged you not to. US example.

https://focustaiwan.tw/politics/202208130012 UK lawmakers urge Taiwan to counter China’s Confucius Institutes

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