Republican lawmakers seek to clamp down on Beijing’s ‘Trojan horse’ activities at US universities

A Republican congressman and his colleagues are hoping to crack down on the Chinese Communist Party’s ‘Trojan Horse’ activities taking place in American universities.

Rep. August Pfluger (R-Texas) recently introduced HR7779, which proposes “to establish Department of Homeland Security funding restrictions on institutions of higher learning that have a relationship with Confucius Institutes.” There are currently 15 Republican co-sponsors of the bill.

Speaking to The Epoch Times in late June, Pfluger explained that “the Chinese Communist Party [CCP] uses the Confucius Institutes to infiltrate American college campuses to engage in espionage, steal our intellectual property, intimidate Chinese dissidents, promote communist propaganda, and redirect information to the People’s Liberation Army ( APL).

He also said that “under no circumstances should American taxpayers’ money be used to enrich the CCP or the PLA.” [People’s Liberation Army]“, adding that” Congress must ensure that taxpayers’ money is permanently cut from these programs.

As Confucius Institutes (CIs) became increasingly exposed and began to close across the country, a new report from the National Institute of Scholars (NAS) suggests that many public programs promoting education and culture rebrand themselves, continuing the CCP’s efforts to influence operations in the United States.

Although more than 100 of the 118 ICs in the United States have closed or are about to close, Beijing remains determined to influence American universities. At least 38 programs have been replaced with comparable substitutes, according to the NAS report.

Rachel Peterson, senior researcher at the NAS and co-author of the report, said in a discussion forum on June 21 that “the Chinese government is betting that if it removes the name ‘Confucius Institute’ and changes the structure of his program, no one will be the wisest to realize that the influence of the Chinese government remains very much alive on American higher education.

As a result, Pfluger’s bill includes not only the many ICs across the country, but also other Chinese entities of concern. To that end, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Confucius Institutes and Chinese Entities of Concern Restrictions Act prevents DHS funds from being disbursed to U.S. universities that host a CI or have a relationship with an entity. worrying Chinese.

“The bill will require DHS to create a list identifying CCP-affiliated entities and individuals who pose the same risks as Confucius Institutes to American universities and distribute that list to universities,” Pfluger explained.

And based on the list of names, he said, universities would be required to report donations to DHS.

“By forcing universities to disclose these individuals,” he said, “Congress and the American people can get a fuller picture of the entities trying to exploit DHS grants to enrich the PLA.”

Accompanied by more than a dozen fellow Republicans, Pfluger said he also introduced HR7851 to “amend the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require institutions of higher education to disclose certain ties to organizations affiliated with China”.

According to the congressman, the bill “will increase transparency requirements for universities that receive funding from individuals, universities, think tanks, cultural/educational/linguistic programs, any entity belonging to the Chinese state or organizations that have CCP members on their boards.” directors. »

If this bill is signed into law, Pfluger said it would require universities that receive donations of more than $5,000 from any CCP-affiliated entity to publicly report such donations to the Secretary of Education and on an easily accessible webpage. available on the university’s website.

A human rights group urges Tufts University to close its Confucius Institute in Somerville, Mass., March 13, 2021. (Apprentice Liu/The Epoch Times)

The CCP’s “Trojan Horse”

Pfluger hopes his legislative actions will continue to sound the alarm and combat the CCP’s nefarious activities and propaganda at American universities. He said the CCP has used ICs as a “Trojan horse” to infiltrate Western universities and engage in evil activities that support the CCP and the PLA.

“The Confucius Institutes have used their influence to silence academics who speak out against the CCP and the PLA, disseminated propaganda campaigns on behalf of the CCP to sway public opinion, recruited campus influencers Americans and engaged in espionage and intellectual property theft, much of which supports the PLA,” he said.

As a result, he said, “any foreign entity seeking to undermine democratic values [America holds] expensive should be seen as a direct threat to the country’s democracy. Time and time again, he said, the CCP has shown that it “will stop at nothing to exert its control over the free world.”

“The CCP’s ability to suppress free speech and debate in the United States is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated,” Pfluger said.

“Congress and the Biden administration must send a strong, unified message that our nation will not tolerate the malicious activity of the CCP.”

JM Phelps


JM Phelps is a writer and researcher on Islamist and Chinese threats.

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