The Confucius Institutes: A Study In Subversion
By Carole Hornsby Haynes, Ph.D. February 16, 2021 American Thinker
Even in the final hours of his administration, President Trump was working to stop China’s infiltration of American education. He proposed a rule to force schools to publicly disclose their connection with the Confucius Institutes and Classrooms or lose certification for the Student and Exchange Visitor Program. On January 26, “President” Biden revoked that rule. Now Democrats have voted to give federal relief money to educational institutions that partner with the Chinese Communist Party.
The Confucius Institutes are Chinese government-funded locations on college campuses, primarily in the United States and other western countries, ostensibly to teach Mandarin and Chinese culture. In reality, the institutes are a communist front for centers of propaganda.
The first Confucius Institute opened in South Korea in 2004. A 2017 study by the National Association of Scholars found that the number of Confucius Institutes housed at colleges and universities is more than 1,000 worldwide with 103 in the United States. In addition, over 500 Confucius classrooms are housed in U.S. kindergarten through 12th grade schools.
An agency of the Chinese Ministry of Education, the Hanban, operates the Confucius Institute and provides teachers, institute directors, textbooks, classroom materials, and operating funds. A five-year contract with the host institution gives the Chinese government total control over staffing and curriculum. Since 2006 the Chinese government has provided more than $158 million to more than 100 U.S. schools for Constitution Institutes.
Yet nearly 70 percent of schools that received more than $250,000 from the Confucius Institutes failed to properly report those donations to the Department of Education.
Speaking to Reuters, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo labeled the institute an “entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms. Confucius Institutes are funded by the PRC and part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus.”
Senator Tom Cotton issued a press release in which he said the “Confucius Institutes are front groups for the Chinese Communist Party on American campuses.”
A 2019 scathing bipartisan report on Confucius Institutes by a Homeland Security subcommittee [Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations with Chairman Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and ranking member Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.] found there is no reciprocity from the Chinese government. Instead it has tried to quash American efforts to establish American Cultural Centers on Chinese college campuses. Those that have opened are controlled by the Chinese government.
The propaganda to which American students are exposed at the Confucius Institutes is tightly controlled by the Chinese Communist Party. The Chinese regime directly hires teachers and prohibits them from saying anything negative about China to students. Such topics as the Tiananmen Square massacre, the separate country of Hong Kong, and human rights are forbidden.
American higher education institutions are being co-opted to steal U.S. intellectual property. The Chinese Scholarship Council funds Chinese scholars to attend American universities in science and technology fields and steal research secrets which are funneled back to China’s People’s Liberation Army.
In a debate at Cornell University, China expert Gordon Chang explained how university students are expected to spy on faculty research. Faculty and students at the host institution are forced to self-censor under threats from the Chinese government.
The People’s Republic of China also targets American scientists and researchers in STEM fields, offering them very lucrative salaries and incentives to share research findings in cutting edge technology to China and to establish shadow labs in China to duplicate their research efforts.
The Chinese Communist Party has infiltrated and corrupted American K-12 education through collaboration with a highly influential American organization led by David Coleman of Common Core fame. In exchange for very generous funding the College Board, which administrators the college SAT, has given the Chinese Communist Party strategic access to the American education system.
In 2003 the College Board created an Advanced Placement Chinese Language and Culture test with the Chinese government becoming a stakeholder in course design. In addition to offering funding, China also offered teachers and textbooks to teach AP Chinese.
Since then, the College Board has sponsored Confucius Classrooms at K-12 schools, recruited for Chinese government programs, and handed the Chinese Communist Party the control of American teacher training programs.
A survey by Victims of Communism revealed that 70% of Millennials support socialism while 36% support communism. This is not surprising since American schools have portrayed socialism in a positive light. Students never hear that more than 100 million people have been brutally murdered under Communism.
Students are not told that the Chinese government caused the deaths of some 60 million innocents under Mao Zedong, ignored property rights, crushed individual freedom, embraced secrecy and bulldozed over any who stood in its way.
American students are not taught that Beijing has rounded up dissidents, cracked down on massive street protests for democracy in Hong Kong, and are “re-educating” millions of Muslims in detention camps. Students are not taught about the imprisonment in “re-education camps” of more than one million Uighur Muslims in the manner that Hitler, Stalin and Mao once relocated “undesirable” populations.
If our students continue to be indoctrinated in socialist and communist propaganda, we can expect to see an even larger number of them willingly vote for Communist leaders.
In response to Democrats claim that they want to cooperate with China, Gordon Chang asked, “How can we cooperate with a government when they mean to overthrow us?” He advises that the U.S. “should cut off ties with China.”
Banishing Confucius Institutes from American campuses is a great place to start. Although some universities have closed their programs since 2017, we can expect more to open with the current administration’s cozy relationship with our enemy.
It will be up to state and local governments to cut the financial lifeline to enemies of the state.