‘Confucius Institutes are threatening academic liberty and free speech without shame, and too many American schools have fallen victim to the political con…’
(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) By unanimous consent the Senate passed the Concerns Over Nations Funding University Campus Institutes in the United States, known as the Confucius Act, to weaken China‘s influence on America’s college campuses.
The Confucius Act transfers control over Confucius Institutes, which have popped up at campuses across the country, to the universities at which they operate.
The bill gives the universities the authority to determine “what is being taught, the activities carried out, the research grants that are made, and who is employed at the Confucius Institute.”
This eliminates the Chinese Communist Party’s ability to manage them from behind the scenes.
Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., first introduced the legislation in March 2019.
“Confucius Institutes are threatening academic liberty and free speech without shame, and too many American schools have fallen victim to the political con,” Kennedy said.
The Confucius Act places obligations on universities that host Confucius Institutes, as well.
They must “protect academic freedom at the institution” and “prohibit the application of any foreign law
on any campus of the institution.”
Sens. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn.; Doug Jones, D-Ala.; and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, co-sponsored the bill, according to Blackburn’s press release.
“The Chinese Communist Party has used deceptive tactics to infiltrate our U.S. university campuses and K-12 classrooms,” Blackburn said.
“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,” she continued. “It is an affront to academic freedom, and we should not bow to repressive Chinese propaganda systems.”
Blackburn introduced additional legislation, the Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act in March 2020, which would require universities to monitor and confront the ways in which the Chinese government influences Confucius Institutes, according to a press release.
Both the College Republican National Committee and the College Democrats of America agreed in a joint letter that they seek the “immediate and permanent closure of all Confucius Institutes in the United States” because of their threats to academic freedom and free government.