India makes official clearance mandatory for tie-ups with China’s Confucius Institutes

“Any collaboration with any NGO/Foundation is subject to Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). Hence, all Universities/Institutions having collaboration with Confucius Institutes/Hanban/CLEC or planning to collaborate to set up Confucius Institutes (CIs) or any other joint venture in any other name will be required to seek prior clearance under FCRA,” reads the communication

Apr 28, 2022
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China’s Confucius Institutes

The collaboration of Indian educational institutes with China’s Confucius Institutes, that promote Chinese language and culture, will now require Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), a decision that comes two years after the government reportedly undertook a review of such tie-ups.

The University Grants Commission (UGC) and the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) conveyed the decision of the government to the heads of colleges and universities on April 5 through a circular marked “confidential”, The Indian Express said. 

“Any collaboration with any NGO/Foundation is subject to Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA). Hence, all Universities/Institutions having collaboration with Confucius Institutes/Hanban/CLEC or planning to collaborate to set up Confucius Institutes (CIs) or any other joint venture in any other name will be required to seek prior clearance under FCRA,” reads the communication.

The UGC and the AICTE circular informed these colleges and universities that the control and operation of the Confucius Institutes now rest with the Centre for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC) in China. Earlier, they came under the Hanban, which is China’s National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language (NOCFL).

CLEC, affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education, is registered as a non-profit professional educational institution for international Chinese language education, the circular adds.

The Indian government considers the Confucius Institutes as foreign cultural centres and requires them to have the approval of the Ministry of External Affairs. Under the revised regulations, the need for the FCRA approval from MHA will be over and above the MEA clearance.

In 2020, India had reportedly reviewed the collaborations involving seven universities and 54 memoranda of understanding on inter-school cooperation signed between Indian and Chinese institutions, an exercise which had taken place in the immediate aftermath of clashes between Indian and Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control.

The Chinese Embassy in India had then issued a statement saying, “We hope India-relevant parties can treat Confucius Institutes and China-India education cooperation in an objective and fair manner, avoid politicising normal cooperation…”

The MEA had then responded saying institutes that have entered into collaborations with Confucius Institutes without taking the necessary approvals would be under the scanner, The Indian Express said.

(SAM)

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