by James C. Sherlock
The College of William and Mary first contracted with the Chinese Ministry of Education’s Confucius Institute (CI) Program in 2012. Despite all of the public warnings about the dangers listed in Part 1, it extended that contract in 2016 and did not cease until 2020, when threatened with sanctions by the federal government.
W&M’s hosting of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) continues today.
This is Part 2 of a series that will explore those dangerous alliances and recommend changes in that college’s approach to what the United States considers the biggest foreign threat our nation faces, China.
The creation of the new William and Mary Confucius Institute (WMCI) was unfortunately timed.
In 2012 Xi Jinping took full control of both the Chinese Communist Party and the Peoples Revolutionary Army. The CI’s became part of Xi’s United Front Work Department.
The Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community in 2012 never saw it coming. The intelligence community, seemingly always fighting the last war, was late to an understanding of the true China threat, at least publicly.
So it would be unfair to criticize William and Mary for not having done so.
But by 2016, when William and Mary signed the renewed contract with Hanban, there were plenty of warnings. See Part 1 for a list. The University of Chicago closed its CI in 2014.
WMCI. WMCI was not an informal arrangement, but a contractual one. The WMCI was under dual governance that gave the Chinese authority over the appointment and firing of the American director of that organization.