The Education Action Network

Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

10-27-20 Education Reporter, Phyllis Schlafly Eagles 

Reports have been popping up for years about the extensive reach of “Hanban,” also known as the Chinese Confucius Institutes, into U.S. classrooms K-12 through university level. Last May, for example," width="115" class="CToWUd" />The National Pulse and WorldNetDaily called attention to the China-based online learning platform Lingo Bus, which had found its way into dozens of Utah public schools at the urging of former Utah State Senator Howard Stephenson. Stephenson’s affiliation with the Confucius Institutes likely helped facilitate the move. (See the June 2020 Education Reporter email.) 

What are the Confucius Institutes, and why should parents be worried? The name itself is ingenious, conjuring up images of ancient Chinese culture, folklore and wisdom. To teach such subjects is one thing, but Hanban is actually little more than a propaganda arm for the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). 

College Board Involvement

In July, The National Pulse reported that the prestigious 120-year-old College Board, the oversight organization for U.S. college entrance exams, “is helping to embed Chinese Communist Party-funded Confucius Institutes in American high schools, granting the Chinese government the ability to dictate what is taught in classrooms.” The College Board has in fact brought “guest teachers” from China in partnership with Hanban since 2007, and these teachers help develop curriculum. While parents might expect their children to learn about Chinese history and culture, students are more likely to be harangued about social justice and racial issues within the United States. 

The College Board’s involvement with Hanban is egregious, especially in light of its management of the very assessment tests that have been hacked by China, including the SAT, which Reuters reported had been compromised in China without reprisal from the College Board, even while the organization “tightened security in smaller countries where exams had leaked.”

Failure to Disclose

Last June, the Washington Free Beacon conducted a review of federal records revealing that some 75 colleges and universities failed to disclose their Confucius Institutes funding, despite the Department of Education’s requirement that “all credentialed universities disclose foreign gifts of more than $250,000.” Of the 22 institutions that actually responded to the Beacon’s inquiry, most claimed that their actual funding fell shy of the $250,000 minimum. But this unreported funding by foreign interests, particularly the CCP, is a source of concern for education experts, who warn that “the widespread failure to report the foreign funding leaves millions of dollars worth of Chinese government funding in the dark.”  

More recently, the U.S. Department of Education has stepped up efforts to crack down on universities who fail to disclose foreign funding, including donations from China. The Department admitted in August through one of its lawyers that colleges and universities have hidden “at least $600 million from China” since 2010. 

The Education Department’s efforts are reportedly already producing results. According to a department letter to House Republicans, “Universities have retroactively disclosed $6.5 billion in previously unreported foreign funding from Chinese and Middle Eastern sources. Universities with Confucius Institutes appear to be no exceptions to this new wave of disclosures.” But what does this say about our educational institutions which for years have allowed the CCP to successfully peddle its propaganda to impressionable U.S. students while hiding the payoffs from parents and the U.S. Education Department?   

Pompeo and DeVos Warn About Confucius Institutes, TikTok

The Confucius Institutes and other vehicles of Chinese influence and spying, such as the social media video-sharing platform TikTok, have aroused the attention of the U.S. State Department as well as the Department of Education. The two departments have joined forces and sent letters to education officials in all 50 states warning about “China’s influence on learning” in this country, and specifically identifying the Confucius Institutes as “an important element of the PRC’s global influence campaign, now reaching tens of thousands of U.S. schoolchildren every day.” The letter, dated October 9, 2020, was signed by both Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Chinese-owned TikTok has been on the Federal Trade Commission’s radar for years, having been fined for neglecting to prevent the indiscriminate sharing of videos of underage children. Last spring, a group called the Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood demanded that the FTC take punitive action against TikTok for failure to destroy “the personal information” collected from underage users. The National Pulse reported in July that India banned TikTok despite incurring the displeasure of its powerful neighbor. The article quoted a number of cyber sleuths who investigated the program, including one who implicated TikTok as “a data collection service” which is “essentially malware that is targeting children.” Most recently, the State Department called TikTok an app used “to spy on the U.S. and its allies.” 

With these developments, parents may experience a glimmer of hope that the years-long influence peddling, spying and propagandizing of the CCP in U.S education may at last be approaching its day of reckoning. 
Washington Free Beacon, 6-15-20; 
The National Pulse, 7-5-20 & 7-13-20; 
Washington Examiner, 10-12-20; 

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