Certain U.S. lawmakers are rooting out foreign influence in American schools.
Florida Congressman Michael Waltz sent a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
It asks the Pentagon to review Army, Navy and Air Force JROTC programs at private schools nationwide to find out whether the schools are owned by or have taken investments from subsidiaries of foreign companies, and if they are, to uncover the name of the company.
That’s after reports revealed certain private schools in the U.S. are owned by Chinese subsidiaries with links to the Chinese Communist Party.
Waltz cited multiple examples of affected schools in the letter to Austin.
One of them is the Florida Preparatory Academy, located in Melbourne, Florida. It’s home to an Air Force JROTC program. He wrote that a subsidiary of the China-based Newopen Group—called Newopen USA—bought the school in 2017.
The company’s chairman has been a member of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Association—a communist Party-sponsored group.
The New York Military Academy also made it onto the list. It operates an Army JROTC program. In 2015, the school was sold to The Research Center on Natural Conservation—backed by China’s SouFun Holdings—for nearly 16 million dollars after it went bankrupt.
The company’s largest shareholder and former CEO is the chairman of a group the U.S. considers part of China’s foreign influence operations.
Congressman Waltz voiced concern that students from these programs could hold a “sympathetic view of China’s political and strategic aims.” And called Beijing America’s “greatest adversary.
He asked the DOD to send its findings to his office, “in preparation for the FY24 National Defense Authorization Act.”