Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) recently introduced legislation along with his colleagues, Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) that would require U.S. schools and universities to disclose their financial ties to the Chinese government including its Confucius Institutes, which are a part of the Chinese Communist Party’s propaganda arm, as a condition of certification or recertification with the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. This legislation would make law a proposed Trump administration transparency rule that was withdrawn by the Biden administration.
“I’ve been raising concerns about Confucius Institutes and China’s propaganda efforts for years. The communist regime poses a serious threat to U.S. research as well as undue influence on our college campuses. Unfortunately, this new Administration is not taking the threat seriously,” Grassley said. “This legislation will shine a light on any funny business that the Chinese government is trying to play on our campuses under the guise of Confucius Institutes and any financial ties between our educational institutions and the communist regime.”
“The Chinese Communist Party must be exposed in their continued mission to influence American schools,” Blackburn said. “Despite President Biden’s willingness to bend to Beijing’s demands, our legislation will codify a Trump administration rule, forcing communist China to reveal their corrupt financial influence on U.S. education.”
“The Chinese Communist Party is stealing America’s technological innovation and waging an aggressive propaganda campaign across the globe, including on American soil on our college campuses,” Tillis said. “I am proud to work with my colleagues on this legislation to reinstate transparency after President Biden inexplicably withdrew the commonsense rule instituted by the Trump Administration.”
In February, Grassley expressed concern about the Biden administration’s announced plans to withdraw a Trump administration proposed transparency rule requiring schools and universities to disclose their financial ties to Confucius Institutes. Grassley outlined a lengthy record of congressional oversight and warnings from federal officials about China’s use of Confucius Institutes to seed pro-China sentiments in the United States.
Grassley has frequently warned of the risk China poses to American education and research institutions. This includes pro-China propaganda, challenges to academic freedom and security of taxpayer-funded research and intellectual property. In 2020, Grassley encouraged all schools with an active Confucius Institute to seek an FBI briefing on how China uses the institutes to seed pro-China sentiments within U.S. academia. As a result of those letters, the FBI held a teleconference with 44 schools. On the call, the FBI echoed Grassley’s warning and discussed how China is actively using its connections with U.S. research centers and potential cyber intrusions to monitor America’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and research efforts to develop treatments.