This story is published in a content partnership with POLITICO. It was originally reported by Andrew Atterbury on politico.com on September 6, 2019. Miami Dade College on Thursday terminated its contract with the Confucius Institute, effectively shuttering the last of four branches that the organisation, affiliated with the Chinese government, operated in the Sunshine State. The move, which comes one week since the college’s board of trustees appointed an interim president, was made “due to low and declining enrolment that does not justify the operational cost” of running the programme, the school said in a statement Friday. Local leaders and a key area lawmaker, US Senator Marco Rubio, praised Miami Dade College for severing ties with the institute, widely criticised for attempting to influence schools in the US while pushing an edited version of Chinese history. Great to hear @MDCollege has ended it’s contract with the #ConfuciusInstitute . Great job by the Chairman @BernieNavarro7 , the trustees & the new interim President. You made the right decision. #Sayfie — Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) September 5, 2019 “You made the right decision,” Rubio told Miami Dade College leaders in a tweet. Lawmakers like Rubio have come down on Confucius Institutes across the US and cut federal funding for the programmes, leading to more than a dozen closures over the last few months. Rubio last year urged Florida colleges and universities to shut down their institutes, a message that seemingly resonated with three of the four schools hosting the Chinese centres. Programmes closed at the University of South Florida, the University of North Florida and the University of West Florida, leaving Miami Dade College with the last institute standing. Miami Dade’s Confucius Institute was kept in the spotlight by a south Florida Republican group that lobbied hard against the programme and other Chinese interests in the area, specifically in the transport sector. Rubio credited the organisation, the Miami Young Republicans, for raising awareness about the institute ahead of its closure. Culture clash for China as Xi introduces Confucius to Marx The group blasted emails and polled voters on the institute as well as a proposal from a Chinese state-sponsored company to build a monorail across Biscayne Bay. Miami-Dade County commissioners on Thursday banned Chinese train companies from bidding on the project, another win for Republican members critical of China. Armando Ibarra, president of the Miami Young Republicans, said the group is working to combat China’s influence in southern Florida. China “gives the world a false sense of the system they’re trying to export” and uses cultural programmes to indoctrinate students, he said. “I think it’s the most important issue of our time,” Ibarra said of the ongoing tensions between the US and China. Representatives with the Miami Dade Confucius Institute did not respond to a request for comment. Billed as regional centres for studying Chinese culture and language, Confucius Institutes rapidly grew in popularity in recent years before the programmes began taking heat from lawmakers over links to communism and propaganda. The institutes, run by a branch of the Chinese Ministry of Education known as Hanban, are known to teach a watered-down version of Chinese culture and history, brushing over human rights issues and teaching that Taiwan and Tibet belong to mainland China. More than 100 of these institutes sprouted up at colleges and universities across the US – bankrolled by the Chinese government’s larger propaganda campaign that its leaders pump an estimated US$10 billion into annually. China to ‘optimise’ spread of controversial Confucius Institutes The Confucius Institute played a role in last week's Miami Dade College board meeting when Chairman Bernie Navarro prompted trustee Marcell Felipe to explain allegations that a candidate for school president had ties to the programme. The candidate in question, Lenore Rodicio, MDC's executive vice-president and provost, chairs the institute's advisory board, but Felipe declined to publicly dig into the matter, leaving it unresolved. The institute was expected to be discussed at the board's next meeting, slated for September 17. Courses will continue at the Confucius Institute until the end of the semester to “minimise disruption” on students and to allow Chinese students and instructors to make arrangements, interim president Rolando Montoya wrote on Thursday to organisation leaders.