The Washington Post reports on one repudiation of Communist Chinese influence, but what about other schools?
The University of Texas in Austin refused money aimed at buying Communist Chinese influence, but this was the first case of such resistance to ongoing efforts. Our own CIA tries to do the same thing in other countries, so it shouldn’t surprise us that the ChiComs would attempt to influence American Academia.
The story emphasizes the positive in its headline, but if you read the whole thing it is obvious that the Chinese have been doing this for a long time.
The Washington Post reports, “University rejects Chinese Communist Party-linked influence efforts on campus.”
As part of a broad effort to interfere in U.S. institutions, China tries to shape the discussion at American universities, stifle criticism and influence academic activity by offering funding, often through front organizations closely linked to Beijing.
Now that aspect of Beijing’s foreign influence campaign is beginning to face resistance from academics and lawmakers. A major battle in this nascent campus war played out over the past six months at the University of Texas in Austin.
After a long internal dispute, a high-level investigation and an intervention by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the university last week rejected a proposal by the leader of its new China center to accept money from the China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The Hong Kong-based foundation and its leader, Tung Chee-hwa, are closely linked to the branch of the Chinese Communist Party that manages influence operations abroad.[…]
Universities still face broader challenges in dealing with China. The Chinese government has sponsored hundreds of Confucius Institutes on college campuses that operate under opaque contracts and often stand accused of interfering in China-related education activities. Increasing numbers of Chinese students in the United States have come under pressure from their government when they have spoken against the party’s narrative. Some have begun challenging professors who speak critically about Beijing’s policies.
Due to the growing efforts of academics, government officials, lawmakers and journalists, the thin veil protecting organizations that do the Chinese Communist Party’s bidding abroad is being peeled back. But the greater struggle to expose and then counter Chinese foreign interference in free societies is just beginning.
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