The award-winning documentary In The Name of Confucius premiered in Western Australia in the state library in early December. The film explores the controversy surrounding the operation of the China-administered Confucius Institutes and classrooms that are operating in Australian universities and schools under the guise of teaching Chinese cultural and language.
The screening was hosted by a panel which included the documentary’s lead actress and Miss World Canada 2015 Anastasia (Yefan) Lin. Having grown up in China, Lin said she was all too familiar with the distortion and lies of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and does not want to see these exported to the West.
Other panelists included former MLA Peter Abetz and Dr. Wai-Ling Yeung, the former head of Chinese Studies at Curtin University.
Documentary Exposes Export of Human Rights Abuse
In the documentary, Lin plays Sonia Zhao who is recruited as a teacher by a Confucius Institute (CI) in China to be sent to Canada to teach at one of their facilities. During her training in China, Zhao was told to avoid such topics as the Tiananmen Square massacre, Tibet, and Falun Gong in the classroom.
The film explores how the CCP’s network of CIs has actively extended the CCP’s persecution of groups such as Falun Gong by stipulating that its members cannot gain employment at CIs. It also explores how the CIs infuse communist propaganda into the teaching syllabus, such as teaching children songs that praise the CCP.
While the CCP is attempting to export its propaganda to the West, it has at the same time, banned the discussion of western ideologies and democracy in Chinese classrooms, Lin said. This is not only in universities but in elementary and high schools as well, she added.
Political and education reporter and columnist of 30 years Joseph Poprzeczny said that CIs are a part of a “sinister ploy … used by Beijing against the Australian people and also against the Chinese people, actually denigrating their own tradition.”
Poprzeczny, who was among the audience, said that watching In the Name of Confucius was very informative. “I’ve always suspected that the Confucius Institute had what I call a hidden agenda; a secret goal,” he said.
Action to Block Confucius Institutes
In the Name of Confucius follows the story of Zhao’s defection and her complaint to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario about the discriminatory hiring criteria of the institute. Her actions led to the first instance of a CI being closed on a North American university campus.
The story reaches a defining moment with the cancellation of the Toronto District School Board’s plans for the world’s largest Confucius Institute. Protests from local parents and residents had fueled public hearings and debates, culminating in the Board’s decision to abort the planned CI facility.
The University of Western Australia (UWA) is the sole university in the state to host a Confucius Institute. In that state’s schools however, there are more than 40 Confucius classrooms in operation, according to UWA’s website.
Poprzeczny, who served as a research director for the Perth Chamber of Commerce, said that it’s necessary to constantly expose the true intentions of the CCP through its soft power arms like the Confucius Institutes in order to counter its penetration of Western democratic societies.
“I believe they have a secret contract that has never been exposed,” Poprzeczny said, referring to the alleged clandestine parts of business contracts made between CIs and western universities that are never made public.
“I’d like to expose [that secret contract] myself,” he added.
This article was first reported in the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times by Epoch Times reporter Guan Youlan.