Despite strained relations between Beijing and the U.S., dozens of colleges and universities are continuing to partner with an entity that has been described as an "important part of China's overseas propaganda setup."
Over the last 15 years, critics have accused the Confucius Institute of stealing research and spreading communist ideology. USA Today reported in 2017 the presence of the Institutes on U.S. campuses began in 2004; and that over the years, some university administrators had warned that the program's close ties to the communist regime in Beijing warrant "serious evaluation."
Justin Danhof, general counsel for the National Center for Public Policy Research, laments that to this day many schools are continuing to partner with the Institute because of the millions they receive from it.
"In some cases, it's schools that are just doing it for the money," he tells OneNewsNow, "and in some cases, there are schools where surely there's plenty of true believers in the Chinese, communist way of life."
Within a little more than a decade, Confucius Institutes found homes on more than 100 U.S. campuses – among them The George Washington University, the University of Michigan, Tufts University, the University of Kentucky, Portland State University, the University of Iowa, and North Carolina State University, to name a few.
Now Campus Reform reports that in a "rare cross-party coalition," campus-based Republican and Democratic political groups are calling for American universities to close all Confucius Institutes and put an end to what they call "the Chinese government's flagrant attempts to coerce and control discourse" at U.S. universities.
Danhof explains why NCPPR has joined with other conservative organizations in also calling for the remaining Confucius Institutes to be shut down.
"In the midst of this global pandemic, this is intolerable. This should no longer be allowed to continue," he continues. "So, we are specifically calling on President Trump to use the levers of power that he has at the [U.S.] Department of Education to wipe these Confucius Institutes off the face of American campuses."
Last October, Senator Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) called for a federal investigation into the Confucius Institutes' influence over American campuses.