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Rubio, Wilson Reintroduce Foreign Influence Transparency Act

Mar 3, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) reintroduced the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, which would require organizations, such as the Chinese government-run Confucius Institutes, to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA). The legislation amends the Higher Education Act to require universities to disclose donations, contracts, or the fair market value of in-kind gifts from any foreign source if the amount is $50,000 or greater. It also requires institutions that have entered into an agreement with a Confucius Institute to disclose the full agreement on its website and to the Department of Education or risk losing their Student and Exchange Visitor Program.
Original co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Bill Hagerty (R-TN).
“I’m proud to once again reintroduce the Foreign Influence Transparency Act, which seeks to bring greater transparency to the activities of foreign governments operating in the United States,” Rubio said. “This legislation will strengthen foreign disclosure requirements for American colleges and universities and close existing loopholes in our law so that entities like China’s Confucius Institutes are required to register with the Department of Justice as foreign agents.”
“Foreign entities, such as the Chinese Communist Party controlled Confucius Institutes, have been taking advantage of both our institutions of higher education and K-12 schools,” Congressman Wilson said. “The CCP isn’t shy about this. In 2009, Li Changchun, then head of propaganda for the CCP, called Confucius Institutes ‘an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.’  Colleges and universities must be transparent about their relationships with these malign actors. This bill holds these institutions accountable, allowing parents and students to see the source of their education.”
“I’m pleased to once again cosponsor this important legislation to increase transparency in foreign funding on our college and university campuses,” Portman said. “As my bipartisan report from the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations proved, China has routinely exploited this lack of transparency by controlling, funding, and staffing Confucius Institutes at campuses across our country. That report also documented how Confucius Institutes can stifle academic freedom and provide students with an incomplete, and sometimes inaccurate, picture of Chinese history, government actions, and policies that run counter to U.S. interests at home and abroad. We cannot allow this stunning lack of transparency to continue at American colleges and universities.”
“Confucius Institutes support the Chinese Communist Party’s efforts to project malign foreign influence and indoctrinate faculty and students with disinformation and propaganda – both in the United States and around the world,” Hagerty said. “It is important that colleges and universities who have agreements with these foreign agents be required to register with the federal government to publicly disclose the terms of these relationships and the revenue they are receiving from an apparatus of the Chinese Communist Party.”