U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and John Kennedy (R-La.) reintroduced the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act to prevent Chinese-backed Confucius Institutes from suppressing students’ freedom of speech on U.S. college campuses. Disguised as a language-learning and cultural studies program, Confucius Institutes are used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to proliferate CCP talking points and expand its influence in the U.S.
“The American education system offers our youth a pathway to pursue their goals and grow intellectually. We can’t let U.S. adversaries infect our academic environment with foreign propaganda. I’m proud to continue my efforts to protect American academia and free speech from being strangled by the Chinese Communist Party’s phony Confucius Institutes,” Grassley said.
“The Chinese Communist Party is directly controlling Confucius Institutes on U.S. college campuses. These institutes promote the CCP’s propaganda and suppress students’ academic liberty. The CONFUCIUS Act would give American universities and schools control over these organizations so that campuses can safeguard our First Amendment rights and speak truthfully,” Kennedy said.
For years, Grassley has sounded the alarm on the CCP’s sinister campaign to spread its narrative through the U.S. education system. He has sent letters to the Department of Justice and college campuses probing the impacts of Confucius Institutes, questioned administration officials before Congress, held hearings, written an op-ed and spoken on the Senate floor to expose Confucius Institutes as a mouthpiece for the CCP. Recently, Grassley and Senate Republican colleagues requested the Department of Education conduct a nationwide audit to identify the full extent to which adversarial foreign governments have funneled funds to American K-12 schools.