The U.S. State Department has drafted a letter urging colleges to review their relationships with Chinese-backed Confucius Institutes and to "move quickly" to guard against the Chinese regime's theft of U.S. research.
There are currently 75 Confucius Institutes within U.S. universities, according to education advocacy group National Association of Scholars.
Krach said there is mounting evidence that the institutes advance the regime's influence on college campuses by "providing institutions with financial incentives to abstain from criticizing PRC [People's Republic of China] policies; putting pressure on faculty to self-censor; monitoring overseas students for loyalty to the party; and undermining freedom of expression by disrupting campus events deemed controversial to the CCP."
He asked the university boards to "examine carefully" the activities of Confucius Institutes on their campuses to ensure academic freedom isn't being undermined.
The official also called on colleges to protect themselves from the CCP's efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property through its state-backed recruitment plans. The regime has more than 200 such programs, Krach said, which aim to lure foreign experts to work in China, facilitating the transfer of U.S. research and know-how to the country.
"For the CCP, international scientific collaboration is not about advancing science, it is about advancing the PRC national security interests," he wrote.
Krach said universities should take more action to vet academics for financial conflicts of interests and whether they receive funding from China.
The Trump administration in May also banned granting visas to Chinese graduate-level or above students affiliated with institutions that support the People's Liberation Army (PLA), in a bid to prevent U.S. research from being used to advance the regime's military.