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Congressman Mo Brooks Joins Alabama Rep. Tommy Hanes: "Close Alabama-Supported, Communist Chinese Confucius Institutes on Alabama Campuses"

July 28, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC— Tuesday, Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) joined Alabama Representative Tommy Hanes by urging and formally requesting that Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Lieutenant Governor Will Ainsworth, Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon, and Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh cause the State of Alabama to cease supporting and close all Communist Chinese Confucius Institutes on Alabama campuses. The letter urges state leaders to join dozens of other states by putting America’s interests first, thereby protecting America from Chinese Communist Party propaganda and promoting America’s national security.

Download the letter HERE

Congressman Brooks said, “Alabama leaders should use every possible tool at their disposal to close Communist Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes at both Troy and Alabama A&M. These so-called ‘institutes’ are nothing more than Communist Chinese propaganda units. Forty-five patriotic American universities from 30 different states have already shut down their Confucius Institutes since 2014. Alabama should show similar love for America by doing the same.”

Brooks continued, “The Communist Chinese Party cannot be allowed to gain influence over America’s education system or undermine American national security. The evidence against Communist China is overwhelming. The American Association of University Professors has decried the threat Communist China poses to academic freedom and the Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division has warned of Communist China’s efforts to conduct espionage through Confucius Institutes. Communist China is America’s geopolitical foe, not our friend. America must wise up and fight back against Communist China’s egregious espionage and propaganda on American soil.”

Full text of the letter follows:

July 28, 2020

The Honorable Kay Ivey
Governor of Alabama
State Capitol
600 Dexter Avenue
Montgomery, AL 36130
                

The Honorable Will Ainsworth
Lt. Governor of Alabama
11 South Union Street
Suite 725
Montgomery, AL 36130

 

The Honorable Del Marsh
Senate President Pro Tem
11 South Union Street
Suite 722
Montgomery, AL 36130


The Honorable Mac McCutcheon
Alabama Speaker of the House
11 South Union Street
Suite 519
Montgomery, AL 36130 

 

Dear Governor Ivey, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh, and House Speaker McCutcheon,

I write to express concerns about Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes in Alabama and the impact they have on the integrity of our higher education system, national security, and taxpayer funded research. I am particularly concerned that two Alabama universities have established Confucius Institutes on campus.[1]

I encourage you to close Confucius Institutes in the State of Alabama, thereby putting American interests first, protecting America from Chinese Communist Party propaganda, and protecting America’s national security.

By way of background, Confucius Institutes are established, funded, and operated by the Communist government of the Peoples Republic of China.[2]These institutes are managed by the Hanban also known as the Chinese Language Council International.[3] There are currently 81 Confucius Institutes in the United States.[4]In Alabama’s case, Alabama A&M is partnered with the Nanjing Forestry University and Troy University with Hebei Normal University of Science and Technology.[5]Confucius Institutes are not just on college campuses and exist in K-12 schools as “Confucius Classrooms.”[6]

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2019, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned “there is a fairly significant pattern of espionage” that is occurring at academic institutions.[7]Director Wray raised concerns that Confucius Institutes are “part of China’s soft power strategy and influence” and that they “offer a platform to disseminate Chinese government or Chinese Communist Party propaganda, to encourage censorship, to restrict academic freedom, et cetera.”[8]Heeding Director Wray’s warning, I request that you join a growing number of patriotic states by terminating Confucius Institutes in Alabama.

A former senior official in the Chinese Communist Party, Li Changchun, stated that Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda setup.[9] With these institutes operating under foreign power on American soil, I urge you to reject the Chinese Communist Party’s push of propaganda that subverts American interests and values.            

Leading professors across America have repeatedly sounded the alarm on Confucius Institutes.[10]In June 2019, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) emphasized their concerns about Chinese impositions on academic freedom.[11]The AAUP pushed for academic freedom in the face of Chinese aggression, saying that “North American universities permit Confucius Institutes to advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate.”[12]I urge you to heed the concerns of these educators. 

Even more alarming, the Chinese Communist Party is using their relationship between Confucius Institutes and American universities to conduct espionage on American soil.[13]In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2018, then-Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap stated that China’s information enhancement programs are “brain gain programs” that “encourage theft of intellectual property from U.S. institutions.”[14]Continuing to allow China to gain influence over our education system undermines American national security and the efforts to protect the brilliant minds that keep America competitive.  

According to the National Association of Scholars, 45 patriotic American universities across 30 states have shut down their Confucius Institutes since 2014.[15]These schools  and their date of closure are as follows: Auburn University at Montgomery (6/2019), University of Alaska Anchorage (1/2020), Arizona State University (5/2019), University of Arizona (7/2020), California State University-Long Beach (2020), University of Chicago (9/2014), University of California-Davis (closing 8/15/2020), University of Delaware (2/2020), University of Hawaii Manoa (5/2019), University of Iowa (7/2018), University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign (9/2017), Indiana University-Purdue University (4/2019), University of Kansas (1/2020), Kennesaw State University (10/2019), University of North Florida (8/2018), New Mexico State University (2/2020), Northern State University (5/2019), North Carolina State University (11/2018), University of Michigan (12/2018), University of Missouri (closing 8/2020), University of Miami (6/2020), University of Massachusetts Boston (1/2019), University of Minnesota (2/2019), University of Maryland (4/2020), Miami Dade University (12/2019), University of Montana (3/2019), University of Memphis (6/2020),  University of Oklahoma (closing 10/20), University of Oregon (4/2019), University of Pittsburgh (6/2020), Pennsylvania State University (9/2014), Pfeiffer University (5/2016), Prairie View A&M University (4/2018), Purdue University (2018), University of Rhode Island (12/2018), University of South Florida (12/2018), San Diego State University (6/2019), San Francisco State University (5/2019) Tulane University (2017), Texas A&M University (4/2018), University of Tennessee Knoxville (1/2019), University of Texas-San Antonio (2/2019), University of Texas-Dallas (8/2019), University of West Florida (Fall 2017), Western Kentucky University (4/2019).[16]

I applaud these academic institutions for their patriotism. I urge you to follow their lead in standing stand against Chinese infiltration of Alabama universities.

I hope you will consider our concerns as well as those of senior intelligence officials on this matter. I strongly encourage you to push for the complete closures of Confucius Institutes attached to Alabama universities. Your support of transparent policies in our education system regarding subversive foreign entities and disclosures of their financial involvement in our universities is paramount. In addition, I encourage you to reach out to the National Counterterrorism and Security Council or the Federal Bureau of Investigation to gain a full and clear understanding of the risks associated with these institutes. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Congressman Mo Brooks, M.C., AL-05

 


[1]The Daily Caller, “Beijing On American Campuses: Here’s Every College With A Confucius Institute,” 22 April 2020

https://dailycaller.com/2020/04/22/beijing-china-american-college-campus-confucius-institute-list/

[2]Inside Higher Ed, “Closing Confucius Institutes,” 9 January 2019.

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/01/09/colleges-move-close-chinese-government-funded-confucius-institutes-amid-increasing

[3]Congressional Research Service, "Confucius Institutes in the United States: Selected Issues,” 15 April 2019.  https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11180

[4]National Association of Scholars, “How Many Confucius Institutes are in the United States?” Updated 15 May 2020. https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/how_many_confucius_institutes_are_in_the_united_states

[5]National Association of Scholars, “Confucius Institutes in the United States May 2020 Report,” May 2020.https://www.nas.org/storage/app/media/Reports/Outsourced%20to%20China/confucius-institutes-in-the-us-updated-may-15-2020.pdf

[6]National Association of Scholars, “How Many Confucius Institutes are in the United States?” Updated 15 May 2020. https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/how_many_confucius_institutes_are_in_the_united_states

[7]NBC News, American Universities are a soft target for China’s Spies, say U.S. Intelligence Officials, 2 Feb. 2020.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/china/american-universities-are-soft-target-china-s-spies-say-u-n1104291

[8]Id.

[9]Congressional Research Service, "Confucius Institutes in the United States: Selected Issues,” 15 April 2019.  https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11180

[10]Inside Higher Ed, “Closing Confucius Institutes,” 9 January 2019.  https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/01/09/colleges-move-close-chinese-government-funded-confucius-institutes-amid-increasing

[11]Id.

[12]Id.

[13]China’s Non-Traditional Espionage Against the United States: The Threat and Potential Policy Responses Before the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 115th Cong. (2018), available at https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/meetings/chinas-non-traditional-espionage-against-the-united-states-the-threat-and-potential-policy-responses

[14]Id. 

[15]National Association of Scholars, “How Many Confucius Institutes are in the United States?” Updated 15 May 2020. https://www.nas.org/blogs/article/how_many_confucius_institutes_are_in_the_united_states

[16] Id.

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