US amends order directing Chinese teachers to return

The new version clarifies that 80 Confucius Institutes do not need to apply for another accreditation.

Beijing/Washington: Amid an uproar in China over the planned American move to send home dozens of Chinese teachers, the US has withdrawn its "sloppy and incomplete" order directing 80 Confucius Institutes teaching Mandarin to seek reaccreditations.

The US order was withdrawn within 24 hours of consultations between officials from the Chinese embassy and the State Department and revised policy directive was sent out on Friday to clarify the visa status of Chinese-language teachers, Chinese media reported today.

It quoted US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland as admitting in a media briefing in Washington that the May 17 order was "sloppy and not complete" causing confusion.

"We regret the fact that the first notice was not our best work and we`ve now endeavoured to fix this," state-run CCTV quoted her as saying.

Chinese officials had earlier asserted that the US move would have serious repercussions for the bilateral relations.

The new version clarifies that 80 Confucius Institutes run by accredited US universities and colleges with the assistance of the Chinese government-backed funding do not need to apply for another accreditation.

To ensure the smooth operation of Chinese language programmes, the Chinese teachers with the wrong type of visa will not be required to leave US next month as was directed last week.

The State Department will assist such teachers to get their visa category corrected with their designated sponsor, official China Daily reported.

About 600 Chinese teachers work in 80 Confucius Institutes in US, the highest number of such institutes set up anywhere in the world.

China sees Confucius Institutes as part of its public diplomacy to provide an exposure to Chinese language, history and culture.

China, has so far, set up these institutes in 105 countries and regions, covering 86 per cent of the world`s population.

India too is gearing up to open to Mandarin following the last year decision by the Human Resources Development Ministry to introduce the Chinese language in CBSE schools.

China has offered to train 100 Indian teachers in Chinese language to start the programme.

Confucius Institute Headquarters welcomed the US decision to allow all Confucius Institutes in the country to continue with their courses.

Xu Lin, head of Confucius Institute Headquarters or Hanban, said the new directive showed the US government`s official recognition of the Confucius Institutes.

"We welcome the quick move of the US Department of State to fix the mistake. There has been an irreversible trend of Chinese language learning in the United States," Xu said.


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