A national Rasmussen Reports poll says 62 percent of Americans believe that China is a long-term economic threat to the United States. In Washington this week, Senator Lindsey Graham has been challenging China’s way of doing business.
Meanwhile, Presbyterian College is forging a new relationship with the Asian powerhouse. The school, located in Clinton, is the only liberal arts college in the country that has a China-funded Confucius Institute. There is also a Confucius Institute at the University of South Carolina.
College President John Griffith explained its significance in an interview with Anne Eller on affiliate WLMA.
” This is a program, funded by the Chinese government, that allows us to have on our campus
a really high-end experience for our students to engage China and understand it. It also allows us to bring to our campus Chinese students for a comprehensive experience in what it means to be an American, ” said Griffith.
Dr. Griffith says the U.S. State Department has also tapped Presbyterian to open an American Center in China. He says it is critical to have a global understanding of a country that is so heavily invested in South Carolina and the U.S.
Through the institute, P.C. is funding Chinese language programs in two schools in Greenville County and one in Spartanburg.
The college also boasts of having on campus the largest statue of Confucius in North America.
Presbyterian College is building this relationship with China, despite growing uneasiness about China’s trade practices with the U.S. That is because, says Griffith, “We don’t know China well, in terms of our education system. This is not an alarm, this isn’t a threat. I think we as educated people, as people responsible for what’s coming…we’ve got to understand the Pacific Rim and Asia and what is happening there.”
WLMA’s Anne Eller contributed to this report.