Chinese Infiltration In American K-12 Schools Podcast
By Carole Hornsby Haynes August 4, 2023
When a country wants to conquer another country, it’s easier if they first destroy culture, religion, language, and values. The first step in that strategy of destruction is to sabotage the schools where a civilization instills its knowledge, values, culture, and language into its young. Join host Carole Haynes as she discusses how the Chinese Communist Party – CCP -- is actually coming onto American soil with our permission to propagandize our youth. How are they doing it? What is the government doing to stop it? Where does the money trail lead?
Over the past two decades the CCP has focused on building up the Chinese military and developing soft power globally. This is a term coined by Harvard Univesity scholar Joseph Nye in 1990 to describe how a country manipulates what it wants other countries to think to help shape international politics.
The CCP has been able to spread its global propaganda because of the academic freedom in educational institutions. Chinese teachers are carefully trained to present favorable impresssions of China while suppressing negative facts about China. One of the CCP’s best well-known propaganda machines are the Confucius Institutes and their K-12 offshoot that are disguised as education centers. ‘While the United States is not officially part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese state media has touted the work done by Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms to further the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence,’ the report continues.
The Chinese government controls and fully funds and supplies these Confucius Institutes for the university and their offshoot, Confucius Classes for K-12 with carefully selected teachers and instuctional materials. The CIs sponsor international conferences and research papers on Chinese topics.
China’s current dictator has increased funding for the CIs, calling them an “important part of China’s overseaas propaganda setup.” China spends at least $10 billion a year on its soft power public relations. While the United States is not officially part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, Chinese state media has touted the work done by Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms to further the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence.
These CIs were established in 2004 and by 2020 there were about 500 worldwide with more than 100 on American college campuses. The U.S. has had more Confucius Institutes than any other country. From 2006 through 2019, Hanban provided more than $158 million to these U.S. Confucius Institutes. Hanban stated it spent more than $2 billion on Confucius Institutes worldwide from 2008 to 2016 but now no longer reports their spending.
Since 2009, Chinese propaganda has infiltrated K-12 through more than 1000 worldwide Confucius Classes.
National focus in the U.S. has been on the university Confucius Institutes while the public paid little attention to Confucius Classes in K-12 schools. That is changing. The recent investigative report published by Parents Defending Education, “Little Red Classrooms: China’s Infiltration In American K–12 Schools,” reports that about 143 schools across 34 states and D.C. have had some form of Confucius Institute related programs. The PDE report shows that from 2009-2023, the CCP provided more than $17 million to these 143 CI-related programs. At least seven contracts are still active in public and private schools in Texas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Oregon and Washington.
However, a 2019 staff report by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, found that at that time the CCP had funded 518 Confucius Classrooms in the U.S. that were operating in both public and private schools across the U.S. The staff report notes that the Chinese government controls nearly every aspect of Confucius Institutes – that would include their affiliated Confucius Classrooms – in U.S. schools.
The U.S. has allowed Communist China to steal our most critical information without any repercussions.
In 2019, the FBI found that 'foreign state adversaries seek to illicitly or illegitimately acquire U.S. academic research and information to advance their scientific, economic, and military development goals.’
In a 2020 speech, FBI Director Chris Wray outlined the threat, saying China pays scientists at U.S. universities to 'secretly bring our knowledge and innovation back to China—including valuable, federally funded research.'
The PDE report notes that the CCP has ties to school districts near 20 U.S. military bases. These include the Annapolis Area Naval Complex in Maryland, Fort Bragg Army in North Carolina, Fort Knox Army in Kentucky, Lackland Air Force in Texas, Nellis Air Force in Nevada, Pugent Sound Naval in Washington State, and San Diego Naval in California.
Americans need to ask why is the CCP so interested in being near military bases.
Three of the America’s top science and technology high schools have ties to Chinese government affiliated programs:
1) Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, which received more than $1 million, is affiliated with one of China’s top military schools. The school has ties to Tsinghua University High School which is the high school affiliated with one of China’s top military schools, Tsinghua University, and that is the alma mater of China’s current dictator.
2) Simpson County Public Schools in Kentucky entered into an agreement with North China Electric Power University that works directly with the the Chinese government’s energy sector to push China’s global energy initiatives, as part of its Belt and Road Inititative.
3) North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics received a “Confucius Classroom of the Year” award from Hanban in 2018. Hanban is a bureau of Beijing’s Ministry of Education, now iknown as the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation.
We should be asking why the CCP is interested in our top science and technology high schools. Obviously they want to control what these brilliant young students learn about China and the CCP. We can bet they’ll be targeting students later to further their technological and scientific needs as well as to spread a positive message about the CCP.
Some school districts partnered with Confucius Institutes on college campuses nearby. Other districts got government funding through third-party nonprofit entities. Here in Texas, Highland Park Independent School District received funding from the International Leadership of Texas Global, a nonprofit organization. Others worked through two U.S. organizations, the College Board and Asia Society, which collaborated directly with Hanban about Chinese programs and funding for American schoools.
The PDE’s report noted that Asia Society was a key participant in establishing Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms until its relationship with the programs ended in June 2021. There is a troubling money trail between the Asia Society and American organizations tied to the New World Order: George Soros’ Open Society, the Carnegie Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation.
Parents Defending Education has given its report to state and federal lawmakers to spur immediate action. U.S. Congressman Jim Banks, who sits on the newly-established House Select Committee on the Strategic Competition Between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party, wrote a letter to U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardon, demanding urgent action to terminate these 'disturbing' partnerships.
Cogressman Banks pointed out that, under President Donald Trump, the State Department designated Confucius Institutes a 'foreign mission' which helped shut some of them down. Under the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the Pentagon is prohibited from providing money to 'institution[s] of higher education that hosts a Confucius Institute' after October 1, 2023. As a result, since the 2021 NDAA passage, over 100 U.S. universities have shut down their Confucius Institutes.
However, as of May 2023, the National Association of Scholars reports that 10 Confucius Institutes are still in operation with 111 Confucius Institutes that have closed or are in the process of closing. Of these 111, at least 28 have replaced their Confucius Institute with a similar program, and at least 58 have maintained close relationships with their former Confucius Institute partner.
Congressman Mike Waltz from Florida said this about the report: It’s “alarming” because “we truly don't understand the full extent of Communist China's meddling in our education system.” Imagine that. Our U.S government actually is clueless about how many of its thousands of eleentary, middle, and high schools house Confucius Classrooms.
Congressman Waltz also said that the CCP is using Chinese shell companies to outright buy American private schools around the country.' So now parents who spend tens of thousands of dollars sending their children to a private school might be sending those children to a Chinese indoctrination center.
Waltz also is sounding the alarm on Chinese-owned schools in the U.S. that have the military Junior ROTC programs. He has asked the Pentagon to survey those schools because this is a dire national security threat.
Senator Roger Marshall from Kansas has introduced a bill to prohibit federal agencies from funding research in China or ‘any entity’ owned by China.
The 2019 staff report for the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs listed these recommendations.
1) Congress should require all U.S. schools to publish any contracts with foreign governments, including all Confucius Institute contracts, online for students and faculty to review. Those contracts should have clear and irrefutable provisions protecting academic freedom at the school and avoid provisions that would apply the law of a foreign country on a U.S. campus.
2) U.S. schools should ensure that Hanban does not exercise line-item veto authority when approving annual Confucius Institute budgets. U.S. schools must ensure that any foreign-government-funded activities or research do not hinder academic freedom or present one-sided, selective positions to American students. Confucius Institute events and activities should also include disclaimers about the sources of funding.
3) U.S. schools should ensure that Hanban’s vetting, screening, and interview processes are aligned with their own hiring procedures and protocols. The process of selecting directors and teachers should be fully transparent to U.S. schools. U.S. schools should also attempt to recruit Chinese language instructors outside of Hanban’s purview.
4) Congress and state and local education officials should study the need and demand for Chinese language education programming in the United States and consider additional investments where necessary. U.S. schools and state and local boards of education should not outsource Chinese language teaching to Hanban.
5) The Department of Justice should determine if Confucius Institutes engage in activity to influence the U.S. government or public on behalf of foreign principals. The Department of Justice should then assess whether any Confucius Institute or its employees should register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (“FARA”) for work on behalf of the Chinese government.
6) The State Department should review all active Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms for compliance with visa regulations, standards, and practices. The State Department should collect foreign visa information for J-1 researchers and teachers associated with Confucius Institutes in the United States.
7) U.S. schools must comply with the law and properly report foreign gifts to the Department of Education. U.S. schools that failed to properly 10 report any foreign gifts should submit corrected and updated reporting as soon as practicable to the Department of Education.
8) The Department of Education should update its guidance requiring U.S. schools to report any funds provided by an institution owned or controlled by a foreign source, especially a foreign government. The Department should also update and modernize its website so U.S. schools can easily upload foreign gift information. The Department of Education and the Department of Justice should conduct oversight and pursue appropriate action against any U.S. schools that willfully fail to comply with reporting requirements.
9) The State Department should demand reciprocal and fair treatment of its diplomats and employees in China. This should include routine access to all U.S. taxpayer-funded sites, projects, and events. The State Department should also complete its own internal review of the effectiveness of the American Cultural Center program.
10) The State Department should remain in close contact with grantees in foreign countries and develop a formal system to collect information about interference, harassment, or questioning by foreign authorities. The State Department should use that information to assess both the safety of grantees working in foreign countries and the effectiveness of their programs.
11) U.S. schools should continue to partner with Chinese universities. Partnering with foreign universities offers students unique international learning experiences and enhance research opportunities. U.S. schools, however, should never, under any circumstances, compromise academic freedom. U.S. schools operating in China should inform students about China’s internet censorship and other relevant constraints.
12) U.S. schools should demand that Hanban be fully transparent about Confucius Institute hiring practices and provide reciprocity to U.S. school programs at Chinese schools. Given the concerns regarding academic freedom and broader U.S. interests related to China, U.S. schools should be fully aware of any drawbacks associated with hosting Confucius Institutes. Absent full transparency regarding how Confucius Institutes operate and full reciprocity for U.S. cultural outreach efforts on college campuses in China, Confucius Institutes should not continue in the United States.
So in concusion, America did not allow the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, or Imperial Japan to gain a foothold in the American educational system. Why are we now permitting the Chinese Communist Party to gain such influence? In K-12 Confucius Classrooms, China’s propaganda of colorful, positive messages has played a key role in China’s soft power campaign. Allowing the CCP in our schools has ongoing national security implications.
Here’s are questions for Americans to consider:
Why are we allowing China to buy our farmland?
Why are we allowing the Chinese Communist Party to set up their police stations on American soil?
Why are we allowing China to steal our intellectual property?
Why are we allowing China to spy on our military bases? In Texas, a Chinese billionaire with ties to the Chinese Communist Party bought 140,000 acres, some of which overlook Laughlin Air Force Base where military pilots are trained.
Why are we allowing China to buy their way into our K-12 schools?
Those who defend Confucius Classrooms argue that the programs are harmless language and culture lessons. What could be the problem with that? Plenty.
China does not allow reciprocity. No other countries, especially no free democracies, are allowed to promotetheir culture and language in China. The CCP wants to control not only what Chinese children think but American children too.
The Confucius Classroom program is designed to create a positive picture about China and then link China with the CCP as one.
Confucius Classrooms are intended to silence or, at least, distract from the critics of China and the party. Teachers are trained and sternly warned to steer classroom discussions away from an ever-expanding list of issues: Taiwan, Tibet, Tiananmen Square, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia, the South China Sea and more. So the problem isn't what is being said in Confucius lessons but what is not being said, especially in U.S. schools.
Beijing's most effective critics are Chinese dissidents, many of whom have settled in other countries to get away from the CCP. When the party plants its flag in a U.S. school, most Americans likely see it as an exotic international artifact. To a Chinese dissident, however, it is a message to not criticize the party. Dissidents protesting at Tufts University expressed this concern, claiming that Confucius Intitutes promote the Chinese government’s agenda. Tuft’s CI has now been shut down.
Well, we should ask whether Americans need to know about Chinese culture or the Mandarin language.The answer is yes, we do. A global perspective, cultural awareness and multilingual skills for Americans are vital. Studying Chinese language, culture, and history can be accomplished without having Chinese Communist teachers in our classrooms. Mandarin proficiency is important for many reasons including trade and national security among them.
However, we need to develop independent Chinese language programs that are not related to the Chinese Communist Party. If schools want an international exchange aspect to their Mandarin programs, they can work with Taiwan—a thriving democracy with a culture of free speech and Taiwanese teachers can be recruited. In 2020, the United States government signed a Memorandum of Understandingwith Taiwanese authorities to support more language and cultural exchange opportunities. We need American schools with Chinese language and culture programs, but they must be entirely independent of the Chinese Communist Party.
Most importantly, we should not allow the Chinese Communist Party to fund our programs because they are actually paying us to allow them to brainwash our youth with communism.
Well, that’s it for this episode. There’s much more in upcoming episodes about the Communist Party in American schools so I hope you join me again for those. Thank you for listening to The Haynes Report and do check out my website: www.drcarolehhaynes.com. Also subscribe to my other podcasts at Google, Apple, Spotify, Audacy, Youtube, and Rumble.