Letter: Coquitlam's Confucius Institute should be closed


School trustees in SD43 missed their annual trip to China this past spring, and likely they will remain home again next year – one minor consequence of the virus originating from and mishandled in Wuhan. 

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And as the entire globe grapples with COVID-19, President Xi Jinping has galvanized Chinese Communist Party ambitions – over Hong Kong, the Himalayas, Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang, Mongolia, the South China Sea, and, of course, democratically-elected Taiwan, the so-called “renegade” province. 

What sort of government is this in China, where one man rules over its only party without limits? Are not the new emperor’s boundless aspirations rather self-evident?

Aside from the many overt geopolitical ventures, Xi persists in “hostage diplomacy,” the latest victim being Chinese-born Australian news anchor, Cheng Lei. Hostage diplomacy is essentially an ugly Communist habit picked up from Stalin, who held a number of hostages in his time, including Chiang Kai-Shek’s only son, which gave the Soviet-supported CCP leverage as the they and the Nationalists (and Japanese) fought over control of China in the 1930’s and 1940’s. According to Jung Chang and John Halliday’s book, Mao: The Untold Story, Mao’s famous “long march” was saved precisely because of Stalin’s hostage diplomacy. It was also used during Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Today Xi is copying from Mao.

Meanwhile, in sleepy Coquitlam, our “public” school board maintains a Confucius Institute, not at all far removed from the autocratic reach of the CCP itself, in the hopes that it will lure “business” in the name of overseas students thus adding to its coffers, since depleted because of COVID-19. 

I am sure Chinese students will always want to come to Canada, not only for the normally fresh air, but also for a bit of breathing space, as Xi clamps down on even freedom of thought, where nothing within its grasp is considered independent of the CCP. But closing the Confucius Institute requires principle. 

No school district should have one – or rely on the income from overseas students. It’s a stand SD43 seems unwilling to take, owing to its sorry addiction to the cash nexus, induced by B.C. government chronic underfunding of education. History will not take too kindly to this Canadian yearning for the yuan.

Joerge Dyrkton, Anmore

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