House Republicans are investigating the Department of Defense's funding of Chinese influence at U.S. universities.
Reps. Pat Fallon, R-Texas, and Jim Banks, R-Ind., were joined by 24 GOP colleagues in sending a Feb. 3 letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin demanding answers about DOD funding for schools with Confucius Institutes (CI) or other Chinese Communist Party-linked entities.
"As you are aware, Congress has long been concerned with the influence and infiltration of Confucius Institutes on the campuses of American IHEs [institutes of higher education]," the letter said.
"According to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, Confucius Institutes 'advance Beijing's preferred narrative and subvert important academic principles such as institutional autonomy and academic freedom.'"
The letter mentioned the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which prohibits DOD funding from going to American IHEs beginning Oct. 1.
In the letter, the lawmakers also said the Chinese have found ways to circumvent the law.
The Office of Chinese Language Council International, CI's parent institution, has rebranded itself as the Chinese International Education Foundation (CIEF) and now funds and oversees programs and institutes.
The lawmakers said the DOD has awarded funding under contract to institutions affiliated with the newly rebranded groups that would represent a violation of the law if extended past Oct. 1.
"We can't allow malign CCP influence in our society anymore. @RepJimBanks and I have led 24 of our colleagues in a letter to Secretary Austin regarding DoD's funding of institutes that have relationships with Communist China," Fallon tweeted Monday.
The letter called out the DOD for not responding to the House Republicans' July letter raising concerns about CI on college campuses.
U.S. colleges that host CIs have received nearly $1.5 billion in gifts and contracts from China from 2014-20, The Epoch Times reported.
"The CCP sees the openness of our leading universities as a weapon that it can turn against us," John Metz, president of the Athenai Institute, a student-founded nonprofit focused on removing CCP influence from college campuses, told The Epoch Times.
"It aims to use espionage and its financial influence over universities not only to control discourse and censor its critics, but also to acquire the advanced technology it needs to expand its military might and further its genocidal policies."
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