Professors in the United States want universities to cut ties with Confucius Institutes on campuses unless they see better guarantees of academic freedom.
China has established Confucius Institutes all over the world to promote Chinese language and culture.
But the American Association of University Professors says the Chinese government shouldn't be supervising curriculum and staff at programs on U.S. campuses. The Canadian Association of University Teachers raised the same issues in December following an instructor's human rights complaint.
The Beijing headquarters of the overseeing agency, the Hanban, hasn't responded to requests for comment.
When reached by The Associated Press, directors at several Confucius Institutes defended them, saying they operate within the rules of the host university.
China gives host universities a yearly sum and pays the teachers' salaries.