Sen. Lankford Introduces Bill to Prevent CCP From Undermining K-12, College Education

Frank Fang
By Frank Fang
September 6, 2023USshare
Sen. Lankford Introduces Bill to Prevent CCP From Undermining K-12, College Education
Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) speaks during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats in Washington on March 8, 2023. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) introduced a new bill aiming to keep out the influence of China’s communist regime in K-12 schools and higher education institutions.

“The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is working to undermine and challenge the U.S.—not just internationally, but on our own soil. They are creeping into our education system at the university and K-12 levels to destabilize, misinform, hack, steal, and propagandize,” Mr. Lankford said in a Sept. 5 statement about his legislation.

The congressman said it is not enough that the “dangerous connections” between U.S. universities and Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes are exposed. “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 U.S. government through contracts,” Mr. Lankford said. “My bill makes sure we get the Chinese Communist Party out of our classrooms and keeps them away from sensitive national security information.”

The Senate was back in session on Sept. 5 after a long August recess.


The bill (pdf)—called 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.

China’s DF-41 nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles are seen during a military parade at Tiananmen Square in Beijing on Oct. 1, 2019. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

According to the State Department (pdf), the Chinese regime carries out its MCF strategy in a “clandestine and non-transparent manner” that includes theft, intending to acquire intellectual property and key research via citizens, researchers, scholars, and private industry worldwide. Under the strategy, the regime aims to obtain advanced technologies—including artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and quantum computing—to achieve military dominance.

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 (AIT) is the de facto U.S. Embassy in Taiwan. Currently, the United States and Taiwan are not formal diplomatic allies ever 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.

Taiwanese sailors
Taiwanese sailors salute the island’s flag on the deck of the Panshih supply ship after taking part in annual drills, at the Tsoying naval base in Kaohsiung on Jan. 31, 2018. (Mandy Cheng/AFP via Getty Images)

CCP Infiltration in US Classrooms

Mr. 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.

The report, published by activist group Parents Defending Education in July, found that the CCP has funded Chinese language teaching programs in 143 school districts across 34 states and the District of Columbia. These districts have received over $1.7 million in funding from China since 2009.

Citing the letter, Mr. Lankford and other GOP 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 is committed to carrying out the audit.

From The Epoch Times

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