Back in 2018, we posed a simple question. Was the University of New Hampshire taking strings attached funding from China? It has had a Confucius Institute for ten years, and in March of 2018, the CIA flagged them as foreign influence organizations.
China has been using these associations to influence research and to persuade host colleges to shy away from anything that might be anti-China.
We revisited this in June of 2019, and again during the Hong Kong protests. But the coronavirus outbreak has been pivotal in exposing deep connections between academia and the media to the Chinese government. Given that these two “institutions” play a significant role in both research and communications, any pro-China connections make them suspect.
The US Senate is interested in delving into these connections.
The investigation is part of a larger effort in Congress to investigate public and private institutions about their ties to China and possible state-backed espionage operations. In light of revelations that China lied about the severity and spread of the coronavirus, lawmakers have launched multiple efforts to crack down on China’s foreign propaganda efforts.
“We write to seek a better understanding of the Department’s efforts to address unreported foreign direct investment into the U.S. higher education system,” according to the letter, which was also signed by Reps. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the House Oversight Committee’s ranking member; Michael Rogers (R., Ala.), the Homeland Security Committee’s ranking member; and Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), the Intelligence Committee’s ranking member.
There isn’t much dispute in the intelligence community over the purpose of Confucius Institutes. They are a gateway to influence peddling and, when possible, gain access to new technology. They also, according to the CIA, “reward pro-China viewpoints and coerce Western academic publications and conferences to self-censor.”
“China has strategically invested in U.S. academia to attempt to steal confidential information and technology from U.S. companies, and even the U.S. government,” the lawmakers write. “Besides China peddling money for influence in U.S. institutions of higher education (IHE), China is restricting any research regarding the origins of COVID-19 that does not comport with CCP propaganda.”
UNH is the same University that spent 17,570.00 dollars on one cafeteria table. And they are not exactly much for disciplining other forms of theft. And while they may not even know if China is using them, that’s no excuse.
And now the US Senate is curious about it as well, anywhere the Chinese have inserted their resources, and schools with Confucius Institutes have to be high on that list.