Trump Designates Confucius Institutes “Foreign Missions” in Blow to China
Written by Luis Miguel
The U.S. State Department has indicated it has classified the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) propaganda fronts known as Confucius Institutes as “foreign missions.”
According to the South China Morning Post, the Trump administration is requiring the institutes, commonly found on college campuses (with equivalent programs for K-12 schools), to register as “foreign missions,” which would subject them to rules similar to those for embassies and consulates.
The State Department took similar action against several Chinese media outlets earlier this year.
As SCMP reports, “The designation would amount to a conclusion that Confucius Institutes are ‘substantially owned or effectively controlled’ by a foreign government.”
“Of some 550 Confucius Institutes around the world, 80 are based at US colleges, including Stanford University and Savannah State University in Georgia, according to the National Association of Scholars, a non-partisan research group that has studied them,” the outlet notes.
China hawks have frequently pointed out that Confucius Institutes, underwritten by China’s government, instill American students with a pro-Chinese political worldview. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) has called them “Chinese government-run programs that use the teaching of Chinese language and culture as a tool to expand the political influence” of the government.
According to the Washington Free Beacon’s review of federal records, only 30 percent of colleges that host or have hosted Chinese-financed Confucius Institutes have disclosed their financial ties to Beijing.
After reaching out to all 75 institutions that have not reported the funding to the Department of Education, the Free Beacon received replies from only 22. One of the most prevalent responses was that the universities refrained from disclosing the donations because their annual receipts fell below the $250,000 threshold.
In one example, a representative from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville said the college felt it did not have to file a report for 2019 Confucius Institute funding because those donations totaled $246,711 — more than $3,000 short of the threshold.
The FBI and Justice Department have stated that Confucius Institutes are replete with Chinese state propaganda, intellectual property theft, and “undisclosed ties to Chinese institutions, and conflicted loyalties.”
Thanks to a partnership between Confucius Institutes and the Asia Society, “more than 100 elementary, middle, and high schools located in 27 states and the District of Columbia” have launched “Confucius Classrooms” since 2009.
This decision from the White House to use the “foreign mission” designation for Confucius Institutes is likely to further strain tensions between Washington and Beijing.
The Trump administration has taken a hardline stance against China, vowing to end its spying, intellectual property theft, and takeover of manufacturing jobs that used to be done by Americans.
Last month, the United States ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, which the government claimed was done to protect Americans’ intellectual property and private information. In retaliation, China ordered the closure of the American consulate in the city of Chengdu.
“Washington has long used its diplomats in Chengdu to infiltrate Tibet and other regions in Southwest China, interfering in China’s domestic affairs,” wrote the CCP mouthpiece Global Times.
On Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar traveled to Taiwan to meet with Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen. It was a visit from the highest-ranking American cabinet member to Taiwan since 1979.
In part, the strained relationship between the United States and China is due to the communist nation’s handling of the coronavirus. The virus reportedly originated in Wuhan after escaping from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.
The Chinese government, with the help of the World Health Organization (WHO), downplayed the threat of COVID-19 early on. After the virus became a cause of global panic, China asserted a leading world role by donating and selling personal protective equipment to western countries.
The Trump administration has repeatedly warned about the threat of China and even banned the Chinese social-media app TikTok over claims that it threatens users’ privacy and American national security.
On the same day the Houston consulate was ordered closed, Secretary of State Mike Pomeo delivered a scathing rebuke of China during a speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Orange County, California.
Pompeo urged “every leader, of every nation” to join the United States to “induce change” in China by pushing back against aggression in Hong Kong and the South China Sea and by blocking Chinese technology that poses a “national security threat.”
“The free world must triumph over this new tyranny,” Pompeo said. “If we bend the knee now, our children’s children may be at the mercy of the Chinese Communist Party.”
Luis Miguel is a marketer and writer whose journalistic endeavors shed light on the Deep State, the immigration crisis, and the enemies of freedom. Follow his exploits on Facebook, Twitter, Bitchute, and at luisantoniomiguel.com.
Courtesy of The New American