U.S. federal senators recently introduced a bill that would force U.S. universities to disclose their financial ties to the Chinese Communist regime. The bill would expose any tactics used by the Chinese Communist Party on U.S. campuses through the Confucius Institute.
The bill, pushed by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would make disclosure of financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party a requirement for U.S. universities to be eligible to participate in the Student and Exchange Visitor Program, which authorizes schools to disclose their financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party. Program, which authorizes schools to enroll students on nonimmigrant visas.
“At the heart of this bill is disclosure and transparency,” Grassley said May 10 on the Senate floor. “If schools want to obtain visas for their foreign students, they will first have to disclose their ties to the Chinese Communist government.”
The bill comes amid heightened U.S. scrutiny of the Chinese Communist regime’s influence on U.S. campuses. A Department of Education 2020 survey found that from 2014 to 2020, U.S. universities received nearly $1.5 billion in contracts and gifts from China.
“The communist regime poses a serious threat to American research and undue influence on our college campuses.” Grassley said in a May 5 statement.
One of Beijing’s tools for exerting influence in the United States is the Confucius Institute . Ostensibly a center for learning Chinese language and culture, the Confucius Institutes have come under heavy criticism for promoting Beijing’s propaganda and suppressing academic freedom within universities across the United States.
According to a 2019 U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations report, from 2006 to 2019, the Chinese Communist regime pumped more than $158 million into approximately one hundred U.S. universities through the Confucius Institutes. There are currently 47 Confucius Institutes nationwide, according to the National Association of Scholars (NAS).
In a statement, Grassley said, “This legislation would expose any tricks the Chinese (Communist) government is trying to play on our campuses under the guise of Confucius Institutes, as well as any financial ties between our educational institutions and the Communist regime.”
The proposed legislation would be an effective collation of a Trump (Trump) era policy proposal that was automatically rescinded after Biden took office because its rules had not been formalized through the regulatory process by the end of former President Trump’s term.
Last year, the Trump administration designated the Confucius Institute USA Center in Washington as a foreign mission. Then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at the time that the measure recognized the center’s role in “promoting Beijing’s global propaganda and pernicious influence activities on U.S. campuses.
The Senate passed a bill in March that would force U.S. universities that partner with Confucius Institutes to have full control over them or lose their federal funding.
In the past few years, dozens of Confucius Institutes have been closed across the United States. But the National Association of Scholars notes that many universities have simply established new partnerships with the Chinese Communist regime under different names.