Chinese Regime Theory and the Molding of America’s Minds

July 30, 2021 Updated: August 2, 2021


According to a recent Gallup opinion poll, President Joe Biden’s approval rating has sunk to a new low of 50 percent. What can Biden do to win back people’s support? Well, how about listening to what the American people have to say?

As The Epoch Times has recently reported, a large number “of Americans across the political spectrum are worried about the Chinese regime’s influence in the United States.” More than 80 percent of “respondents to a Convention of States Action and Trafalgar Group poll said they are concerned, somewhat concerned, or very concerned about Beijing’s influence over the U.S. government, media, and culture.” And so they should be. As I have written here before, the Chinese regime seeks to control every aspect of U.S. culture, from the political narrative to the Hollywood narrative.

The threats from China come in many forms, so let’s start by addressing the elephant, or the numerous elephants, in the room: Confucius Institutes.

It was 17 years ago that the first Confucius Institute was established in Seoul, South Korea. The question, though, is why? Ostensibly, these institutes were—and still are—designed to foster relations between host countries and China. In theory, a Confucius Institute promotes the Chinese language and culture. In practice, however, these institutes are an “important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up”—not my words. No, these are the words of Li Changchun, a former senior leader of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Today, there are hundreds of institutes and thousands of Confucius classrooms operating in 162 countries around the world. Propaganda is well and truly alive.

The Invasion of American Minds

What’s needed to invade a country? Nothing, it seems, except lots of money. These institutes are an affront to American sensibilities. Surely, people can learn about China without having to enter a classroom designed by the Chinese regime. These institutes are run by the Hanban, an institute with close ties to China’s Ministry of Education. Worryingly, the Confucius Institute’s influence can be found not just in universities, as many believe, but also in elementary school classrooms, middle schools, and high schools all across the United States. Former President Donald Trump, to his credit, did a lot to close down Confucius Institutes, but a further push is needed. According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), there are still “35 Confucius Institutes at American colleges and universities.” That’s 35 too many.

In March, Ralph Norman, the U.S. representative for South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District, along with Joe Wilson, the U.S. representative for South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District, penned a telling op-ed for The National Review. The authors discussed the ways in which the Chinese regime appears to play a key role in “offering Chinese teachers to schools around the country.” By doing so, “the CCP has successfully built a series of ‘Confucius Classrooms’ at many K–12 schools” across the land. Today, they warn, “thousands of American schoolchildren” are exposed to propaganda “from carefully selected Communist apparatchiks.”

Although critical race theory is indeed a problem, Chinese regime theory (CRT) is arguably a greater threat to America’s children. Why are so many of these institutes still operating, and why are young children being indoctrinated by carefully selected, Beijing-approved “educators?”

Time for Action

When we think of the Chinese regime, we tend to think of hard power, such as tanks, soldiers, and submarines. However, as the recent hacking of Microsoft has shown us, the CCP rarely engages in traditional acts of warfare. The Party prefers to engage in acts of subterfuge: lying, stealing, cheating, and doing whatever is needed to thwart their enemies. Confucius Institutes are just an extension of the Party’s effort to spread carefully curated propaganda. After all, ideas are far more powerful than any gun.

Epoch Times Photo
Protesters demand Tufts University to close its Confucius Institute, a language training program that the Chinese regime uses to promote communist ideologies, in Somerville, Mass., on March 13, 2021. (Learner Liu/The Epoch Times)

In a piece for Newsweek, Dan Currell and Mick Zais, two experts in the field of education, discuss the myriad of problems posed by Confucius Institutes.

“First and most obviously,” the authors wrote, “the programs lack reciprocity.”

This, of course, is an obvious statement. Nevertheless, it’s an important one. Why does the United States—and another 161 countries—offer a home to Chinese propaganda when the “CCP does not allow other countries, and certainly not free democracies, to establish anything like Confucius Classrooms in China?” The answer is simple: money. Western countries have sold their souls and those of their people for large sums of money. In China, the CCP has a monopoly on the dissemination of propaganda. Although the Chinese regime continues to lie to its citizens, it won’t allow outsiders to do it. This isn’t praise for tyrants; it’s a simple fact.

What, If Anything, Can Be Done?

Assuming Biden wants to win back the support of Americans across the land, then he should make a concerted effort to eliminate every Confucius Institute and classroom in the country. The author Joel Kotkin has justifiably lamented the “systemic” decline of the American education system. Critical race theory and Chinese regime theory are part of this horrible rot, and both should be removed from the U.S. education system. First, though, let’s start by removing the foreign enemy.

John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of The New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, The American Conservative, National Review, The Public Discourse, and other respectable outlets. He’s also a columnist at Cointelegraph.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn
John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published by the likes of the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, The Spectator US, and other respectable outlets. He is also a psychosocial specialist, with a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.