This week the U.S. Senate passed the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States (CONFUCIUS) Act by unanimous consent, which U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) co-sponsored.
The legislation addresses concerns about Confucius Institutes suppressing free speech on American college campuses. John Kennedy (R-LA), Doug Jones (D-AL) and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also co-sponsored the bill.
This, according to an emailed press release that Blackburn’s office distributed this week.
“The Chinese Communist Party has used deceptive tactics to infiltrate our U.S. university campuses and K-12 classrooms,” Blackburn said in the press release.
“Those studying Chinese culture and language at Confucius Institutes should be alarmed to learn that these facilities are a part of the Communist Party propaganda. It is an affront to academic freedom, and we should not bow to repressive Chinese propaganda systems. I am pleased that today the Senate acknowledged the importance of putting some serious distance between Confucius Institutes and American universities through the passage of the CONFUCIUS Act.”
At universities across the United States the Chinese government is waging an influence war through its Confucius Institutes. Though ostensibly designed to promote cultural studies on college campuses, Confucius Institutes receive direct funding from the Chinese government. The CONFUCIUS Act reduces the Chinese Communist Party’s influence on U.S. colleges and universities by granting full managerial authority of Confucius Institutes to the universities that host them, the press release said.
The bill, according to the press release, also requires Confucius Institutes to:
• Protect academic freedom on the campus where the Confucius Institute is located
• Prohibit the application of any foreign law on any campus of the institution
• Grant full control over what a Confucius Institute teaches, the activities it carries out, the research grants it gives, and the individuals it employs to the college or university on which it is located.
This bill would prohibit federal government funding to colleges and universities that host Confucius Institutes and are not in compliance with the above provisions. The funding prohibition would only apply to funding directed to the college or university and would not include funding disbursed to students, such as Pell Grants, the press release said.
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