‘The activities of Confucius Institutes are inherently political in nature and intended to influence U.S. policy and public opinion…’
(Claire Russel, Liberty Headlines) Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, issued a warning to the 77 colleges and universities that still house Chinese-controlled Confucius Institutes, urging them to recognize “the risks” these institutes pose to “both your institution and our national security.”
The intelligence community has concluded that the Chinese government actively tries to use Confucius Institutes to spread communist propaganda and misinformation, Grassley said. He encouraged the schools to meet with FBI officials and seek additional information.
“Based upon information gathered from unclassified briefings, we know that Confucius Institutes are an arm of the Chinese Government and are overseen by the Office of Chinese Language International (Hanban), which is part of the Chinese Ministry of Education,” he wrote.
Grassley said the office comprised members from 12 state ministries including the country’s propaganda outlets.
“Confucius Institutes are also reportedly funded by the United Front Work Department, a Chinese Government agency that coordinates foreign influence operations,” he continued. “The activities of Confucius Institutes are inherently political in nature and intended to influence U.S. policy and public opinion.”
Moreover, Grassley explained, the Chinese government “has taken serious steps toward stealing our intellectual property from taxpayer-funded research projects.” This attempted theft should be the private sector’s concern just as much as the government’s, he said.
As this political manipulation has become apparent over the past few years, many schools have decided to rid themselves of Confucius Institutes.
The University of Chicago was the first to close its institute in 2014; since then, 31 colleges have closed their Confucius Institutes, according to the National Association of Scholars.
Despite that progress, dozens of public and private universities still host a Confucius Institute. Grassley urged these schools to reconsider given the “interference or influence that could result in damage to or the of American intellectual property.”