Lawmakers introduce legislation defending universities from the Chinese Communist Party’s influence

National emblem of China at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China

U.S. Senator Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) joined Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), and Rick Scott (R-Fla.) in introducing the Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act.

The Chinese Communist Party funds and operates 55 Confucius Institutes at colleges and universities across America. They allow the CCP to influence what college students are taught and obstruct the freedom of speech on campuses. As Li Changchun, a senior member of the CCP, stated in 2009, the Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.”

“Confucius Institutes allow the Chinese regime to funnel propaganda into American universities under the guise of educational enrichment. It’s long past time that this is made clear to Americans up front, and that anyone involved with these centers face background checks. Anything else would be an abdication of our national security efforts,”

Senator Hawley

Senator Hawley has previously asked Missouri universities to reconsider their partnerships with the Confucius Institutes and commended the University of Missouri for shutting down its Confucius Institute.

The Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act amends the Higher Education Act of 1965 to require program participation agreements between the CCP agency which administers educational programs, known as the Hanban, and American institutions to address the ways in which Beijing exerts undue influence through Confucius Institutes, including:

  • Clearly delineating between the Confucius Institutes’ programs and their own Chinese language programs;
  • Locating an Institute apart from these departments;
  • Removing the Chinese assistant director position from Institutes;
  • Removing the confidentiality section of agreements;
  • Making the agreements publicly available online; and
  • Including stronger language in the agreements to make it clearer that the U.S. school has executive decision-making authority.