With China currently engaged in an ongoing hunt for U.S. intellectual property, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK) thought it apt to bring the Confucius Act up for a vote. The bill, which was authored by Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) and passed the Senate by unanimous consent on June 10, would combat the influence of Chinese propaganda on college campuses via Confucius Institutes.
Cole explained the importance of the legislation on the House floor last week. Confucius Institutes, he explained, are cultural institutes directly or indirectly funded by the Chinese government. Under the Confucius Act, colleges that receive federal funds would have to ensure that any contract between the college and a Confucius Institute includes a clear provision that protects academic freedoms at the institution. The legislation would grant full managerial authority of the Confucius Institute to the institution, including full control over curriculum, activities, research grants made, and employment at the Confucius Institute.
.@TomColeOK04:— Mark Bednar (@MarkBednar) July 29, 2020
Confucius Institutes on US college campuses "are noted for presenting Chinese Communist Party propaganda ignoring human rights abuses in Tibet and among the Uyghurs, and insisting that Taiwan belongs to mainland China." pic.twitter.com/wKWkZVRd4f
In recent years, Cole explained, Confucius Institutes "have become commonplace, un-American higher education campuses" with "a focus on a Beijing approved view of Chinese history." For instance, they present Chinese communist propaganda, ignore human rights abuses in Tibet and insist that Taiwan belongs to mainland China.
The bill, Cole said, would help close an open loophole on our college campuses currently being exploited by the People's Republic of China.
Unfortunately, Democrats aren't interested. They promptly voted against consideration of the Confucius Act.
"We also have to wonder why Democrats are so hesitant to hold China accountable?" GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy asked. "I don't know what the Chinese Communist Party has on the Democrats, but it is effective."
McCarthy noted that Democrats have also voted against his legislation to hold China accountable for hacking America's COVID research for a vaccine. And the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act has been sitting on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's desk since May.