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Rubio Joins Blackburn and Colleagues in Introducing Bill to Ensure Confucius Institutes Abide by Standards of Transparency

Mar 13, 2020 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) and Senate colleagues in introducing the Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act to require program participation agreements between Confucius Institutes, and American institutions that house them, to address the ways China exerts undue influence. 

“For far too long, the Communist Chinese government has attempted to infiltrate American universities through the disguise of the government-run Confucius Institute,” Rubio said. “I’ve repeatedly raised concerns and educated universities, including those throughout Florida, that have had these agreements in place. This bill adds needed pressure on Confucius Institutes, and pushes universities to take responsibility in a way that’s consistent with American and democratic values.”

“The Chinese government has no right to influence American education the way Confucius Institutes have for the past sixteen years,” Blackburn said. “Those studying Chinese culture and language at schools like University of Memphis and Middle Tennessee State University ought to be alarmed that the Chinese government has made itself at home in their institutions. Confucius Institutes as they currently operate are an affront to academic freedom, and we should not bow to repressive Chinese propaganda systems. It is time to put some serious distance between Confucius Institutes and American Universities.” 

“We know the Chinese Communist Party is using Confucius Institutes as a way to create influence on our college campuses. This is the right step in making it clear that Confucius Institutes are not independent centers of learning, but instruments of Beijing’s overseas propaganda machine,” Hawley said.

“China funds Confucius Institutes on American college campuses to stifle criticism of atrocities like the Tiananmen Square Massacre and indoctrinate our kids with the party line,” Cotton said. “Our bill would give American students, faculty, and administrators more power to resist the Confucius Institutes’ propaganda and pressure campaigns.”

“We know Communist China is stealing our technology and trying to compete with us on the global stage,” Scott said. “The Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act will curb the negative influence of Confucius Institutes to protect our universities and our national security.”

“The Confucius Institutes are directly funded and overseen by the Communist Party of China (CPC),  whose suppression of human rights and malign activities around the world warrant a strong response from the US,” Lankford said. “The fact that they are invited onto numerous college campuses around the US is concerning and should be addressed. This bill takes steps to ensure China is not promoting propaganda or political censorship on campuses under the guise of the seemingly innocuous Confucius Institutes. The bill also ensures China cannot unduly influence and pressure decisions at our universities because of the presence of a Confucius Institute. The US wants a constructive relationship with China, but the lack of transparency around Confucius Institutes inhibits our ability to do that.”

“No foreign government should have the ability to pressure U.S. institutions of higher education to change their curriculum or suppress politically sensitive content. At many schools, Confucius Institutes have acted as extensions of the Chinese Communist Party,” Lee said. “The U.S. federal government has a duty to conduct careful oversight of foreign programs to protect our students from undue influence or foreign propaganda. These measures ensure that the agreements that our colleges and universities enter into are transparent both to the government and to the American people.”