by Kyle Reynolds
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita announced that his office will investigate the and the Chinese Communist Party’s Confucius Institute at Valparaiso University.
“The investigation is aimed at identifying and getting to the bottom of the true intent of any relationships between Valparaiso University’s programming and the Chinese Communist Party,” a statement from Rokita’s office reads.
Valparaiso, a private Lutheran institution, received $1.1 million from the Chinese government between 2010-2019 and acknowledges the Rokita’s investigation on its Confucius Institute website.
Rokita’s office alleges that although it’s unclear how the funds VU obtained from the Chinese government were used, “the university’s webpages explaining the partnership make clear that not only did programs target Valparaiso University students but also younger students through sponsorship of programs at area K-12 Indiana schools.”
The Attorney General’s statement further reads, “Hoosiers deserve answers and transparency into the impact of these institutes on our schools and students.” It continues, “Our investigation seeks to uncover whether the Chinese government has attempted to exert political influence and manipulate the attitudes and beliefs of Hoosiers through their Confucius Institutes. Our office will use every tool at our disposal to protect Hoosiers and put liberty into action.”
Students at Valparaiso University told Campus Reform that it was “disappointing” to learn of the school’s connection with the Chinese Communist Party.
Valparaiso student Zach Collins told Campus Reform that he was “shocked” when he “first heard of the investigation” and that he is “interested to see where this investigation goes.”
He continued, stating that if, as the investigation alleges, the Institute is “under the total control of the communist party [and exists] to spread their ideals,” then he does not support their presence on campus.
Noah Godsell, who also attends Valparaiso, told Campus Reform that he is “concerned about Valpo supporting an organization” with a reputation like the Confucius Institute. He stated that it’s “disappointing to hear” about the connection between the university and the CCP and added that he believes VU “should cut ties” with the Chinese government and questioned that with so many other schools cutting their connection with the Chinese Communist Party.
“Why would Valpo still take money from them,” Godsell asked.
Campus Reform reached out to Attorney General Todd Rokita for comment and was subsequently directed to the August 10 statement.
Campus Reform investigations have found that the CCP has a tighter grip on what’s taught in American Confucius Institutes than previously thought.
Six agreements obtained by Campus Reform between Hannban, the government entity controlling Confucius Institutes, contained language that gave the Chinese Communist Party a level of control over the curriculum taught within the Confucius Institute.
For instance, the University of Toledo’s agreement with Hanban, which is an agency under China’s education ministry, states that “The Institute must accept the assessment of [Hanban] on the teaching quality.”
However, Christine Billau, a spokesperson for the University of Toledo, told Campus Reform that the university is “solely responsible for the content we teach.”
James Giordano, a neurology professor at Georgetown University, and senior fellow in Biosecurity, Technology and Ethics at the US Naval War College, told Campus Reform that it’s “explicit” that this language gives the Chinese Communist Party control of what’s taught in the Confucius Institutes hosted on American soil.
Campus Reform reached out to Valparaiso University for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.
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Kyle Reynolds is an Indiana Campus Correspondent with Campus Reform. He is a Sophomore at Indiana University, Bloomington where he studies Public Policy, Economics, and Political Science. Kyle is the president of The Crimson Post, a student publication on IU’s campus, and is a campus ambassador for the Leadership Institute.
Photo “Xi Jinping” by Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation / Roman Kubanskiy CC BY 4.0.