Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday called on colleges to shut down Chinese “Confucius Institutes” and limit the number of Chinese students admitted, claiming they’re stealing research on behalf of the Chinese government.
The comments came during a speech at Georgia Institute of Technology, the Independent reported.
Confucius Institutes are agreements between foreign and Chinese universities with the purpose of spreading Chinese culture, language, and teaching around the world.
The university had previewed the remarks on Tuesday, saying Pompeo would talk about “the China challenge to U.S. national security and academic freedom,.”
The administration has ramped up sanctions against China over the past two years, limiting visas for Chinese researchers, scientists, and academics, closing China’s consulate in Houston, and imposing penalties on Chinese and Hong Kong officials.
Pompeo, seen as positioning himself to contend for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, has been heavily criticized for departing from the traditionally nonpartisan role of the nation’s top diplomat by making appearances that have political overtones over the past several months.
Most notably, those include a video address to the Republican National Convention in August that he taped during a trip to Israel.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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