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We all know the legend of the Trojan horse, which the Greeks used against the city of Troy to get their soldiers over the wall and quickly conquer the city. Modern readers can read the story and scoff. Surely, we would never be so naive and ignorant as to allow the enemy to enter our communities undetected and unchallenged.
The enemies of the United States, however, have come a long way from wood and nails in trying to conquer democracy. Today, Communist China has invested millions of dollars to establish Confucius Institutes in US universities, claiming to promote the Chinese language and culture.
Teachers and students sing together to celebrate the founding day of the Communist Party of China at Wenhua Road Primary School in Zaozhuang, east China’s Shandong Province, June 22, 2022. (CFOTO/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
Instead, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has seized this opportunity to infiltrate US academia and use these institutes as fronts for foreign intervention in American higher education. Through the Confucius Institutes, the CCP spreads communist propaganda, censors the truth about the CCP’s history, human rights atrocities, and ongoing attacks, and uses their access to spy and steal sensitive information.
Through these programs, the CCP is not only able to stifle criticism of the CCP on the university campus, but also inadvertently pressure the university into self-censorship in order to preserve funding.
THIS IS THE BIGGEST SCANDAL IN AMERICAN HISTORY
The CCP is notorious for implementing espionage schemes that span years or decades. In 2007, the CCP announced their plans in a report by a Chinese state newspaper, when the chairman of the Central Guidance Committee for Building Spiritual Civilization under the Propaganda Department of the CCP Central Committee said that Confucius Institutes were “important”. Part of the CCP’s external propaganda structure.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray testified with Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on November 15, 2022, before the House Homeland Security Committee on Capitol Hill. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
We have been aware of the threat of Confucius Institutes for many years. In February 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the CCP used institutes as “unconventional collectors, primarily in the academic realm” across the US.
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As of 2019, more than 100 US colleges and universities have adopted Confucius institutes, funded and staffed by the CCP. After the State Department labeled the programs as foreign missions in 2019, many Confucius Institutes closed their doors, but many were replaced by the same programs under a different name.
Rep. Michelle Steel speaks to reporters during a press conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Oct. 20, 2021. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
To be clear, the CCP is the biggest threat to democracy and must be blocked from influencing our universities through these nefarious Confucius institutes, but so do foreign actors. It is imperative that any nation that tries to dig its claws into our university students is immediately and forcefully banned from doing so.
Our bill, the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft (SHEET) Act, will give the law enforcement community the tools they need to fight the influence of bad actors, direct the federal government to designate foreign intelligence threats to higher education, and empower the Secretary of Homeland Security. to eliminate these threats.
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We cannot allow the CCP, or any foreign power, to infiltrate our higher education under the guise of innocent international cooperation. Our children’s education is our most precious asset. Those who shape the minds of our students, shape the future of our nation. University should be a place for freedom of learning and exploration, without undue fear of influence.
We must be vigilant in protecting our academic freedom, intellectual property, and national security. We are proud to spearhead the introduction of the SHEET Act and urge our colleagues to join us in protecting our college campuses.
CLICK HERE REP. READ MORE MICHELLE STEEL
CLICK HERE REP. ELISE STEFANI
Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik represents New York’s 21st Congressional District. He is a member of the House Standing Committee on Intelligence and chairman of the House Republican Conference.
Republican Michelle Steel represents California’s 48th district in the US House of Representatives. She is a first generation Korean American and the first Korean American woman to serve in the US Congress.