Democrats fail to counter Chinese regime’s challenges to U.S. higher education: Republican lawmakers

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While China reportedly maintains its enduring influence over American higher education by seeking to rebrand its Confucius Institutes (CIs) as American universities, Democrats have consistently refused to toughen the regime to counter its further infiltration, according to Republican lawmakers.

“With Joe Biden in the White House, we see…their Confucius Institute and the threats they pose, [including] spying on college campuses, malign influences on American universities through Confucius Institutes, have come back under different names,” Rep. Jim Banks (R-Ohio) recently told the “Capitol Reportprogram on NTD, an Epoch Times affiliate.

“The threat is still there. In fact, it’s growing because we have an administration that doesn’t just turn a blind eye, it welcomes a rise in malign Chinese influence in the United States,” Banks said.

“Under President Trump, for the very first time, we had an administration that took the Chinese threat seriously. We have seen almost every Confucius Institute in America shut down under Donald Trump’s watch,” he added.

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) echoes his point of viewsaying, “You won’t see anything from the Democrats coming against China.”

Steube attributed the Democrats’ inaction in the face of this foreign threat to the compromising of the Biden family by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

“The Biden family is compromised by the Chinese Communist Party as they gave Hunter and his aligned companies billions of dollars,” Steube said.

Entities linked to Hunter Biden in 2017 and 2018 received millions from Chinese energy giant CEFC China Energy and companies linked to the firm, according to bank documents released by senators in March.

“The Democrats across the aisle see China as a threat, but are totally reluctant, politically, to confront them,” Steube added.

Banks called “the rise of Chinese malign influence in the United States as shameful.”

The Epoch Times has contacted the White House for comment.

Embodiment of Confucius Institutes

The author of the report titled “After the Confucius Institutes: China’s Enduring Influence on American Higher Education“, Rochelle Peterson unveiled the reappearance of the CCP-backed group in a meeting with MTN.

“We thought [CIs] had practically disappeared in the United States. But it turns out they reincarnated under a variety of new names,” Peterson said.

“So the problem has not gone away. It has just been renamed and has become much harder to follow,” she added.

Of the 118 CIs in the United States, about 105 have closed or announced closures. However, at least 38 colleges have replaced their closed CI programs with similar alternatives, according to the report by the National Association of Scholars (NAS), a conservative research and advocacy organization.

Peterson said that under the guise of the new name, the group still offers Chinese language and culture programs, “but that’s Chinese culture as endorsed by the Chinese Communist Party.”

This means that topics of ethnic minorities, religious minorities, the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the status of Tibet and Taiwan are all excluded.

“That’s all the Chinese government would like you to know about China and nothing else,” she said.

Peterson further underscored the strategic focus that drives the functioning of institutions on American soil.

“The goal is to win the hearts and minds of American youth and make them think positively about the Chinese government, the Chinese Communist Party, and accept the goals of the Chinese Communist Party,” she said.

“But it’s also a way to have a strategic outpost on a university campus and to keep an eye on Chinese students studying abroad, to keep an eye on the research and technology that’s developing there. college, and just having an ear to the ground,” Peterson added.

Countermeasures

Steube referred to protecting higher education from foreign threats Lawwhich he presented in March 2021 as a tool to fend off the threat posed by the Chinese regime.

The bill, co-sponsored by seven other Republican lawmakers, seeks to “prohibit the awarding of federal funds to institutions of higher education that employ instructors funded by the Chinese Communist Party.”

“The only way to get [U.S. higher education and research institutes] to comply is to try to take away the resources they get from the federal government,” he said.

Peterson shared the same view, saying, “The U.S. government should consider instituting a tax on Chinese gifts to colleges and universities, or even capping the amount of money they can receive from Chinese sources before jeopardize eligibility for federal funds”.

In his view, these kinds of aggressive policies could “divert colleges and universities from this Chinese government funding and protect students from the kind of propaganda that the Chinese government is spreading.”

Banks also suggested better oversight, better security barriers, and accountability for those universities that turn a blind eye to this threat.

“So we need better guardrails on how research is funded in America and who participates in it, and there needs to be more accountability,” Banks said, because “the CCP’s pernicious influences on college campuses in America continue to be prevalent”.

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Hannah Ng is a journalist covering news from the United States and China.

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