The deteriorating bilateral ties between Sweden and China has resulted in closure of all Confucius Institutes in Sweden – making the Scandinavian country the first country in Europe to close all institutes and classrooms.
The decision has been prompted by growing Swedish concern regarding Chinese security, disregard for human rights violations, oppression of ethnic- and religious minority groups and the jailing of Gui Minhai, the Swedish bookseller and poet from Hong Kong.
The last institute was announced closed by Luleå University of Technology, in late December 2019 – but was officially closed in late January. On 23 April, the last Confucius classroom at Falkenberg Secondary School was terminated, but will properly close in late May, reported Radio Sweden and Radio P4.
The closure of the Confucius Institutes has also resulted in termination of exchange programmes and twin-cities between Chinese- and Swedish cities and therefore future exchange students will have to finance their exchange program with the help of private loans.
Confucius Institutes are public educational institutions under the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China, that aim to ‘promote Chinese language and culture, support Chinese teaching internationally and facilitate cultural exchange’.