A new report has revealed that at least 143 K-12 schools in the U.S. currently have or have had past ties to a Chinese Communist Party (CCP) program known as “Confucius Classrooms.” Experts say the CCP effort to infiltrate schools with communist propaganda is part of a concerted effort to “subvert” the U.S. from the inside in order to weaken it, possibly paving the way for a future direct military confrontation.
While Confucius Institutes (CIs) have long been associated with colleges and universities in the U.S., Confucius Classrooms are aimed at K-12 schools and are touted as “centers that teach Chinese language and culture.” But as Parents Defending Education has uncovered in its new report, not only do Confucius Classroom programs create a partnership between a school and a Chinese government entity, they are also affiliated with “three of the nation’s top science and technology high schools” as well as “school districts near 20 U.S. military bases.”
From 2009 to 2023, Parents Defending Education found a total of almost $18 million in Chinese government funding of U.S. K-12 schools through the program. For example, Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va. “received more than $1 million in financial aid from Chinese government-affiliated entities over the course of a decade.”
As Nicki Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, explained during Tuesday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” the Trump administration was able to rein in Confucius Institute funding in higher education through the Higher Education Act, which requires colleges and universities to be transparent about foreign funding — but there are no such requirements for K-12 schools in place. “[F]righteningly, I think this is only the tip of the iceberg,” she warned. “And so there’s a lot more out there. And we intend to continue following this up.”
Neily went on to emphasize that her concern is not about students learning about Chinese language and culture, but about the motivations and stated goals of the CCP in forming partnerships with U.S. schools.
“We’re just saying parents should know who is funding and who is teaching our students, particularly if they come from a hostile nation, so that parents can make an informed decision whether they want their children to participate in these programs or not,” she said. “Some of the contracts that we saw gave the Chinese government … oversight and control over curriculum [and] over teachers that came over. Certainly no teacher is going to be able to come over from the People’s Republic of China without checking all of the ideological boxes by the Communist Party. And so to us, those are concerning things, and we want parents to know so that they can decide whether this is a fit for their family or not.”
As the report points out, the CCP has been open about the goal of its Confucius program. “Former Chinese Communist Party Senior Chairman Li Changchun in 2009 said that Confucius Institutes were ‘an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.’”
Neily noted that her organization has reached out to all state governors as well as several Senate and House committees requesting that investigations be undertaken into the Confucius programs.
Gordon Chang, distinguished senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute and author of “The Great U.S.-China Tech War,” further explained who is behind China’s Confucius education programs on “Washington Watch.” “These are nominally run by China’s Ministry of Education, but really are run by the Communist Party’s United Front Work Department, which means that they are meant to subvert the United States.”
After noting additional seemingly hostile recent actions by Chinese nationals in the U.S., including an enormous uptick in young Chinese males of military age attempting to enter the country through the southern border and the recent discovery of an illegal Chinese-owned laboratory in Fresno, Calif. filled with infectious diseases including hundreds of mice infected with COVID-19, Chang was blunt in his assessment of what actions the U.S. government should take in response.
“Remove every Confucius Institute, every Confucius Classroom, close the remaining four consulates, strip the embassy staff in Washington just down to the ambassador, close the Chinese state banks and enterprises. Get the Chinese regime out of America because they’re winning, and we’re losing our country.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.
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