Chinese Influence in Schools Increasing Under Biden
On January 26th, the Biden administration scrapped a Trump-era proposal that would have required American schools and universities to disclose any agreements they have with organizations backed by the Chinese government.
Foremost among these organizations is the Confucius Institute, which maintains hundreds of programs and education centers in the US.
Since 2013, these programs have provided American schools with an estimated $1.3 billion.
During the Trump Administration, dozens of these institutes were shut down over concerns they were being used to sway public opinion in the US and host Chinese intelligence. In 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed the agency was keeping tabs on the Confucius Institute. They were concerned that its facilities were being used for espionage.
In 2020, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the institutions were “literally up to no good.” In fact, that same year, Sweden became the first European country to outlaw the institute entirely.
“Universities must stand up for each other…and consider whether any sacrifice of academic integrity or freedom is worth the price of appeasing the CCP’s demands,” says former Attorney General William Barr, who accused the Confucius Institute of pressuring host schools to silence discussion on topics considered controversial in China.
What will be the consequences of Chinese influence in schools?
By failing to keep tabs on China’s foreign influence operations, “the Biden Administration is calling into question its stated commitment to maintain a policy that treats China as a strategic competitor and protects American interests and values from its malign influence,” adds Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R).
The Biden Administration should have at least discussed the move with Congress first, adds Rep. Michael T. McCaul (R-TX). “By quietly backing away from the proposed rule…the Biden Administration is sending a concerning signal about its scrutiny of [Chinese] influence in academia, and telling academic institutions that they don’t need to be transparent about their ties to China’s regime.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) introduced a proposal to withhold federal funding from schools that harbor Confucius Institutes. But Democrats dismissed the idea three days ago.
“We must prevent American taxpayer dollars from going to institutions that have partnerships with any entity owned, controlled, or organized under the laws of the Chinese Communist Party, which we know is censoring free speech, engaging in genocide in Xinjiang Province, and influencing American academia before our eyes,” argues Stefanik.
Author’s Note: The Chinese influence in American schools is a serious threat to national security. And Biden will do nothing about it.