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updated: 2/6/2013 4:16 PM

U of I considers Chinese-funded institute

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Associated Press

URBANA, Ill. -- The University of Illinois may open a new institute financed by the Chinese government and focused on Chinese language and culture.

The Confucius Institute would be based at the Urbana-Champaign campus and paid for by $150,000 a year from the Chinese Ministry of Education.

The (Champaign) News-Gazette reports that Chancellor Phyllis Wise signed a tentative deal with the Chinese government last fall to set up the institute. University trustees and the state Board of Higher Education still need to approve the plan.

Similar Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes are operated on 300 college campuses around the world.

Some schools have declined to open them over worries that the institutes are used to spy on Chinese students abroad. University of Illinois officials say they've found no evidence to back those concerns.

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