Congress Looks to Curb Chinese Infiltration of Higher Ed
Several Republican lawmakers are backing a new bill that would further tighten the screws on Chinese “Confucius Institutes” in U.S. colleges and universities.
The bill, S.2583, was introduced by Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Tom Cotton, and is intended to amend two laws in order to make it harder for the Chinese government to infiltrate higher education.
Numerous lawmakers have expressed concerns that Confucius Institutes serve as “proxies for the Chinese Communist Party” on American campuses, pushing “manipulative propaganda campaigns” and using “strings-attached” funding to cow professors into conforming with the Chinese government’s priorities.
If passed, the bill would require Confucius Institutes to register as foreign agents and obligate universities to disclose any substantial donations received from abroad.
Earlier this month, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn also blasted the suspicious activity of Confucius Institutes, arguing that the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, another legislative effort that was introduced last year, will become “an important piece of our overall response” to China’s strategy.
“These institutes are proxies for the Chinese Communist Party,” the lawmaker said at the time. “They offer schools financial benefits in exchange to set up shop in close proximity to U.S. researchers and students whose views they attempt to influence for what are essentially manipulative propaganda campaigns—ones that conveniently whitewash over the Communist regime’s less flattering attributes and their troubling history of human rights abuses and belligerence in places like the South China Sea.”