Top Republicans have called for information about claims the Chinese have infiltrated US colleges as part of their “investment in American colleges and universities to further its strategic and propaganda goals” — an initiative they claimed could be “foreign academic espionage.”
The call comes as lawmakers are increasing alarmed at Chinese attempts to influence US lawmakers and journalists in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
In a letter to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, a number of GOP committee voiced their concerns:
“For some time, we have been concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students,” the Republicans began.
“For example, a 2018 Hoover Institution report notes the presence of some 110 ‘Confucius Institutes’ on college campuses as well as over 500 ‘Confucius Classrooms’ in secondary schools,” they continued. “While the stated mission of such institutes and classrooms is to teach Chinese language and culture, the report notes, ‘faculty and other watchdogs have warned that they may present risks to intellectual freedom by using American universities as vehicles through which to advance Chinese Communist Party propaganda.'”
It is imperative that the Department of Education investigate whether institutions “receiving federal taxpayer dollars should be allowed to accept funds from China, the CCP, or other affiliated organizations,” the lawmakers went on, noting that The Higher Education Act of 1965 requires institutions of higher education to “disclose gifts from foreign sources.” Specifically, section 117 of the Act requires that “whenever any institution . . . receives a gift from or enters into a contract with a foreign source, the value of which is $250,000 or more, the institution shall file a disclosure report.”
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