CCP’S Steady Infiltration of American Education
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has come under increasing scrutiny the past few years because of its questionable trade practices and growing monopolies in technology, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, and even professional sports. President Trump’s administration was particularly astute about the threat of CCP infiltration into all areas of American life, and it took decisive steps to address the issues with revised trade agreements and defense acts. The propaganda in our education system has been largely ignored, however, and it is one of the most subversive avenues the Chinese use to conquer from within.
Universities are Fertile Ground for Chinese Communist Propaganda.
Confucius Institutes1 are Chinese government-funded organizations housed on college and university campuses that purport to offer classes on Chinese language and culture. The first one was housed at the University of Maryland in 2004. Rather than innocently introducing American students to language and Chinese arts, however, the CCP uses Confucius Institutes to insert dangerous propaganda into the campus environment, as well as recruit academics to steal American intellectual property. As China expert Gordon Chang describes, threats from the Chinese government cause faculty and students to self-censor, creating an oppressive atmosphere that limits any real conversation about Chinese history and philosophy2.
This “academic espionage” of threats and intellectual property theft, explains Chang,3 has been suspected for years. The Chinese Scholarship Council funds Chinese scholars, researchers, and post-doctoral students to attend American universities specifically in science and technology fields that will help the Chinese perfect their strategies for global domination.
Cabot Phillips, Editor-in-Chief of Campus Reform, recently interviewed Gordon Chang about China’s objectives for infiltrating the United States, both through Confucius Institutes and through the Chinese Students and Scholars Association4.
Rachelle Peterson, Senior Research Fellow with the National Association of Scholars, has described the genesis of Confucius Institutes as part of China’s “whole of government” and “whole of society” approach to propagandizing students against American principles. The Chinese Communist Party controls how Chinese history is taught. There can be no mention of Tiananmen Square or of Hong Kong as a separate country, for example, and nothing that might besmirch China’s reputation is allowed. The Chinese provide the textbooks to be used, and they choose all the faculty. Chinese Communism is extolled as the perfect system, and everything about the institute is tightly controlled5.
U.S. Technology Research Goes Straight to the Chinese Military.
Last year Judicial Watch discovered through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that millions of dollars in Chinese grants to American universities have gone unreported for years. These grants send 30,000 Chinese scholars to foreign countries with the specific mandate to steal research secrets from the universities and funnel them back to China’s People’s Liberation Army. The Thousand Talents Program in particular “offers lucrative salaries and other incentives for people in STEM fields to share research findings and establish shadow labs in China to duplicate their research.”
Many Chinese Students in the U.S. Serve Beijing.
In a debate at Cornell University, Gordon Chang outlined how university students from China are frequently expected to spy on faculty research, harass American students, and demand that any criticisms of China be banned from campus. Their involvement with Confucius Institutes means they are not in the country to be educated but to gain access to research, technology advancements, and even defense strategies of their host countries.
College Board and K-12 Infiltration is Just as Prevalent.
Less known but just as dangerous is the Chinese Communist Party’s hijacking of the College Board. The College Board receives millions of dollars from the Chinese government to promote the CCP. American teachers are recruited to attend the National Chinese Language Conference (only Mandarin is allowed to be taught), and the Confucius Institutes in Classrooms Network provides rules on how to present China always in a positive light. Schools also receive money so that AP Chinese courses will be taught “appropriately.”
In a fascinating but alarming discussion, The Epoch Times’ “American Thought Leaders” program recently explored how the College Board has been bought off by the CCP and how Confucius Classrooms in K-12 schools are centers for Chinese Communist propaganda. Expert panelists include Dr. Bruce Gilley, Professor of Political Science at Portland State University; Rachelle Peterson, Senior Research Fellow with the National Association of Scholars, and Rory O’Connor, President and Chairman of the Athenai Institute.
What Can Be Done?
There are actions citizens can take to make sure Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms are eliminated from American education. The “American Thought Leaders” panel mentioned several:
- Investigate whether your children’s school has a Confucius Institute and do not send them to a Confucius Classroom.
- Be aware of Chinese guest teacher programs. They most assuredly are affiliated with the Chinese Communist Party.
- Support alternatives to the College Board’s AP Chinese language and culture test. The College Board has a monopoly on college preparation courses, so there need to be other choices.
- Hold universities accountable if they house Confucius Institutes. At one time there were more than 100 Confucius Institutes on U.S. college campuses, but because of pressure from the Defense Department in 2018 that threatened federal funding to these universities, many have closed the institutes. There still are 67 that are active, however, and university administrators need to be pressured to remove them.
- Hold state legislatures accountable. State universities that have Confucius Institutes should receive significantly reduced state taxpayer funding. The Athenai Institute can provide model legislation for state legislators to use.
Find the Confucius Institutes in Your State.
Universities are starting to realize the dangers of having Confucius Institutes on their campuses and have made the decision to cut those ties with China. More than 60 campuses still have the agreements, however. Find out if your state has them!
The Chinese Communist Party threat is real, and it infiltrates all areas of American society. It is critical that citizens learn the truth and take concrete steps to protect our public schools and universities.