Confucius Institute U.S. Center

This is a logo owned by Confucius Institute for Confucius Institute. (link)



Tax ID:


Tax-Exempt Status:


Budget (2017):

Revenue: $1,506,138
Expenses: $1,369,569
Assets: $593,712

Budget (2016):

Revenue: $995,876

Expenses: $1,034,897

Assets: $358,323

Executive Director:

Gao Qing

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The Confucius Institute U.S. Center is a People’s Republic of China-funded nonprofit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C. The center employs public relations, advocacy, and research to promote the network of university-based and Chinese-government funded Confucius Institutes that have been established across the United States since 2004 to promote Chinese culture and language. Confucius Institutes are funded at universities with funds from China’s Office of Chinese Language Council International (known as Hanban). Similar programs have been initiated at U.S. primary and secondary schools.

Confucius Institutes have been engulfed in controversy since coming to the United States in 2004 due to allegations the institutes suppress academic freedom at US universities, are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party, and disseminate Chinese propaganda across the United States. 1


The Confucius Institute US Center was founded in 2012. It was established to act as the Washington, D.C.-based think-tank arm of the network of Confucius Institutes across the globe. The center’s sole member and funder is the Chinese Office of Chinese Language Council International. The organization, known colloquially as Hanban, is overseen by a branch of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Ministry of Education. 2

Hanban has sole discretion over appointment of the Board of Directors and Executive Director of the center. The center boasts that its location in Washington’s “Think Tank Row” gives it influence to use public outreach and advocacy to promote Chinese language and culture in the US, as well as promoting the nearly 100 chapters of the Confucius institute in the United States. The center offers professional development for the many Chinese language teachers sent to the United States by Hanban to teach at Confucius Institutes across the United States, as well as many outreach and promotional campaigns. 3

While the Confucius Institute U.S. Center claims to support 100 university-based Confucius Institutes, the conservative-leaning National Association of Scholars counted 86 active institutes as of February 2020, with three scheduled to close over the summer of 2020. 4

The most prominent area of focus for the center is “public outreach and communication,” which it states is to promote cooperation and cultural exchange between China and the US. The Center has partnered with the World Affairs Councils to launch the US-China Global Education Television Series involving interviews with prominent American officials and presidents of Universities that host Confucius Institutes. The Center also hosts an annual gala at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. 5

The executive director of the Confucius Institute US Center is Gao Qing. Qing leads the center and represents the nearly 100 US-based Confucius Institutes in the United States. Qing previously ran the Confucius Institute at George Mason University, a large Virginia public university near Washington, D.C. While at Mason, Qing’s Confucius Institute received the “Confucius Institute of the Year” award. Prior to joining the faculty at George Mason, Qing worked for the US-China Policy Foundation, another pro-PRC public policy institute in Washington, D.C. that frequently partners with Confucius Institutes. 6


The Confucius Institutes have garnered significant criticism since the first Institute was founded in South Korea in 2004. The first Confucius Institute in the United States came to the University of Maryland-College Park in 2004. Academics at many universities looking to establish Confucius Institutes in the United States immediately began to express apprehension at the idea of a Chinese government-funded center at their university. 7

In the years following their initial founding, Confucius Institutes continued to grow across the U.S. and internationally, surpassing 500 locations at universities as of 2020. with nearly 100 installed at colleges and universities across the United States, including some of the nation’s most notable and largest research universities. 8

Hanban also funds hundreds of “Confucius Classrooms” in K-12 school districts across the US, usually as an agreement for funding Mandarin-language instruction in the school district. In some cases, school districts have announced plans to make Mandarin-language education required in their schools, prompting not only criticism about the Confucius Institute, but also questions on practicality. The College Board, the large nonprofit best known for administering the SAT college entrance examinations, announced plans in 2014 to partner with Confucius Institutes to teach Chinese language and culture in 20 school districts in the United States 9

Alignment with the Communist Party

Critics accuse Confucius Institutes of being a mouthpiece for the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party, a charge that Liu Yunshan, the Chinese Communist Party’s former First Secretary and head of the propaganda department, confirmed in a 2010 article in the Chinese Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily, stating that the PRC will “Coordinate the efforts of overseas and domestic propaganda, [and] further create a favorable international environment for us [. . .] With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun Gong. [. . .] We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes.” 10


Increased visibility of Confucius Institutes in the United States has led to the closure of over ten Confucius Institutes since 2019, with more Institutes looking to wind down operations. Reports of the importation of Chinese propaganda and censorship have become commonplace at Institutes across the country, with instructors often told by Hanban to avoid any mention of Taiwan, Tibet, the Tiananmen Square Massacre, and banned Chinese spiritual teachings. A 2014 report from the American Association of University Professors urged colleges “to close their Confucius Institutes or renegotiate the agreement to ensure academic freedom and control.” 11

Federal Inquiries

In 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified before the United States Senate that the FBI was concerned about the existence of Confucius Institutes in the U.S. 12

In February 2019, the U.S. Senate issued a report condemning Confucius Institutes in the U.S. calling for either stringent controls mor closure of the institutes. The 93-page report argued that the Institutes’ ostensible purpose of promoting Chinese language and culture in the United States is misleading and is a propaganda tool of the People’s Republic of China government. The report further slammed the institutes’ lack of transparency and accused schools of hiding Chinese government funding, stating that “Nearly seventy percent of U.S. schools with a Confucius Institute that received more than $250,000 in one year failed to properly report that information to the Department of Education.” 13


  1. Epstein, Ethan. “How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms” Politico Magazine. January 16, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  2. Epstein, Ethan. “How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms” Politico Magazine. January 16, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  3. “Confucius Institute US Center” IRS Form 990. 2017. Accessed April 10, 2020.  
  4. “How Many Confucius Institutes Are in the United States?” National Association of Scholars. February 12, 2020. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  5. “Confucius Institute US Center” IRS Form 990. 2017. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  6. “Gao Qing”. Confucius Institute US Center. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  7. Redden, Elizabeth. “Chicago to Close Confucius Institute”. Inside HigherEd. September 26, 2014. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  8. “Locations”. Confucius Institute US Center. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  9. Feith, David. “China’s Beachhead in American Schools” Wall Street Journal. May 26, 2014. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  10. Epstein, Ethan. “How China Infiltrated U.S. Classrooms” Politico Magazine. January 16, 2018. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  11. Redden, Elizabeth. “Closing Confucius Institutes”. Inside HigherEd. January 9, 2019. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  12. Redden, Elizabeth. “Closing Confucius Institutes”. Inside HigherEd. January 9, 2019. Accessed April 10, 2020.
  13. Gunia, Amy. “A Senate Report Has Slammed the Chinese Learning Centers Operating at Over 100 U.S. Universities”. Time Magazine. February 28, 2019. Accessed April 10, 2020.
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: December 1, 2014

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2017 Dec Form 990 $1,506,138 $1,369,569 $593,712 $339,982 N $1,487,300 $18,838 $0 $75,316 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $995,876 $1,034,897 $358,323 $241,162 N $994,673 $1,203 $0 $19,200
    2015 Dec Form 990 $695,772 $601,377 $244,706 $0 N $695,772 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2014 Dec Form 990EZ $21,291 $161,797 $150,361 $0 $0 $0 $0 $0 PDF
    2013 Dec Form 990 $339,382 $58,184 $290,867 $0 N $339,382 $0 $0 $0 PDF

    Confucius Institute U.S. Center

    WASHINGTON, DC 20036-1920