11/02/2011 08:34 am ET Updated Jan 02, 2012

Chinese Organization Gives Stanford $4 Million To Endow Professorship On One Condition: No Tibet Talk

Never look a gift horse in the mouth?

A Chinese organization connected with the government pledged $4 million dollars to Stanford to endow a professorship and start the Confucius Institute on Chinese language there. There was one condition. No talking about Tibet.

Bloomberg has more:

"They said they didn't want to be embarrassed," said Richard Saller, dean of Stanford's school of humanities and sciences. Stanford refused, citing academic freedom, and Chinese officials backed down, Saller said. The university plans to use the money for a professorship in classical Chinese poetry, far removed from the Tibet dispute.

There are 75 Confucius Institutes in the US at institutions like Columbia and the University of Delaware. The Institutes generally offer Chinese language study and sometimes research funding.

This is not the first time the Confucius Institute has come under fire. In the China Heritage Quarterly at Australia National University, Michael Churchman criticized the program for only teaching simplified Mandarin Chinese.