Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) has introduced a new bill aiming to keep the influence of China's communist regime out of K–12 schools and higher education institutions.
“The CCP has used these connections to steal American innovation and exert political influence over students, faculty, and their families,” he said.
“But they’re finding new ways to engage malignly with our schools, from K-12 to universities and colleges who are often connected to the US government through contracts. My bill makes sure we get the Chinese Communist Party out of our classrooms and keeps them away from sensitive national security information.”
LegislationThe bill (pdf)—called the Countering Adversarial and Malicious Partnerships at Universities and Schools (CAMPUS) Act—would require the director of national intelligence to annually report to Congress a list of higher education institutions “domiciled in the People's Republic of China” that provide support to the Chinese military, formally known as the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Chinese colleges and universities that take part in Beijing’s military-civil fusion (MCF) strategy, as well as those that participate in the defense sector, are considered to be supporting the PLA, according to the bill.
“None of the funds authorized to be appropriated or otherwise made available for the Department of Defense for research, development, testing, and evaluation may be provided to an entity that maintains a contract with an institution” named in the list, the bill said.
The bill would also prohibit Department of Education funds for K–12 schools that have chosen to partner with entities linked to the PLA.
Moreover, the bill would empower the secretary of state, who may choose to “deny the application for a visa for a nonimmigrant” involved in supporting the Chinese military.
While aiming to stop CCP influence in U.S. schools, Mr. Lankford encourages schools to partner with Taiwan via his legislation.
“The Secretary of Education is authorized to provide grants to K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to support access to Mandarin language instruction and Chinese cultural programming in the United States provided in partnership between the American Institute in Taiwan and Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in the United States,” the bill says.
The American Institute in Taiwan is the de facto U.S. Embassy in that country. Currently, the United States and Taiwan aren't formal diplomatic allies; they haven't been since Washington changed its diplomatic recognition in favor of Beijing in 1979. However, the United States is bound by the Taiwan Relations Act to provide the island with the arms necessary for self-defense.
CCP Infiltration in US ClassroomsMr. Lankford, who serves on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, was one of several Republican senators who wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona following a report exposing CCP infiltration into K–12 classrooms in the United States.
Citing the letter, Mr. Lankford and other Republican senators asked Mr. Cardona to carry out a nationwide audit to determine “how much funding from hostile foreign governments has flowed to America’s K-12 schools.”
“The CCP is the greatest threat to America’s security today. The CCP’s involvement in the K-12 education system further demonstrates how far the Chinese government is willing to go to expand its influence and promote its authoritarian agenda,” the letter reads.
“We cannot sit idle and allow this expansion of CCP propaganda. Parents deserve transparency and policymakers must know the extent of the problem so we can work on solutions to protect both our students and our national security.”
The senators wanted Mr. Cardona to respond before Sept. 8 on whether he's committed to carrying out the audit.