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Miami University Defends Its Chinese Partnership

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Ohio Senator Rob Portman will co-chair a committee Thursday that is examining China's impact on the U.S. education system. Miami University is one of 100 colleges and universities who have Confucius Institutes which Portman and others say lack oversight by the State Department and U.S. Department of Education.

During a conference call, Portman said his committee (Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations-PSI) will release a bipartisan report Thursday that highlights problems with transparency and reciprocity. He worries about what he calls "China's one-sided treatment of U.S. schools."

The committee says American colleges and universities have received more than $150 million in support from the Chinese government.

The hearing Thursday begins at 10 a.m. You can watch it here.

Miami University says on its website that it was the first school in Ohio to open a Confucius Institute. Other regional universities with a Confucius Institute include: Ohio State, University of Akron, Cleveland State, Purdue, Indiana University, University of Kentucky and Western Kentucky University. Here is a link to the nationwide partnerships.

Miami Assistant Provost of Global Initiatives Cheryl Young says U.S. investigators did come to talk to her January 28. But she doesn't see any problem with the Institute at Miami considering there are only two classes with college credit- kung fu and tai chi. Other classes and clubs are available without credit.

"I can't speak to the experience of other Confucious Institutes but our experience here is we have autonomy. It is a partnership with our partner university and it is a two-sided arrangement."

Young says Miami proposes the classes and China approves them. It's not the other way around.

With more than 30 years of journalism experience in the Greater Cincinnati market, Ann Thompson brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her reporting. She has reported for WKRC, WCKY, WHIO-TV, Metro Networks and CBS/ABC Radio. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists. In 2019 and 2011 A-P named her “Best Reporter” for large market radio in Ohio. She has won awards from the Association of Women in Communications and the Alliance for Women in Media. Ann reports regularly on science and technology in Focus on Technology.