Mar 28 2019
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) filed a package of bills today that will protect national security by ending China’s unfettered access to American college campuses.
The main bill, the Confucius Act, addresses concerns about Confucius Institutes, which receive direct funding from the Chinese government to promote Chinese studies on American college campuses. The bill reduces China’s influence on U.S. colleges and universities by granting full managerial authority of Confucius Institutes’ teaching plans, activities, research grants and employees to the universities. This is a necessary step after the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations warned earlier this year that the institutes pose a serious threat to academic freedom by pushing China’s history of censorship and control.
Confucius Institutes partner with more than 100 campuses across the U.S., including Xavier University in New Orleans. The FBI has acknowledged that it is warily watching Confucius Institutes, and several universities have severed ties with the institutes.
Sen. Kennedy also filed the Protecting American Technology Act of 2019 to safeguard the information and technology produced on college campuses by requiring a deemed export license to be in place before foreign nationals can conduct scientific research in university labs. This will prevent controlled technologies from leaking to America’s competitors.
“The FBI has warned us that China is exploiting our open research and development environment. In other words, China cheats. Confucius Institutes supposedly promote Chinese studies on U.S. college campuses. They’re funded by the Chinese government, and they’re controversial for a good reason,” said Sen. Kennedy. “Confucius Institutes are designed to promote China’s Communist agenda. They threaten our national security and our academic freedom.”
Also in the package is the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, which will address one of the SEC’s most significant issues in overseeing the financial reporting of U.S.-listed, China-based companies. The bill will require companies to provide proof they are not implicitly state-owned and prohibit them from being on the exchange if they refuse inspection of their records for three consecutive years.