Under Secretary of State, Keith Krach Talks on Confucius Institutes Malign Influence in America
Under Secretary of State, Keith Krach warns Confucius Institutes in American Universities as CCP propaganda machines
Keith Krach: The US government has made it a priority to push back on China’s malign influence on American society. One fear of that influence is the US academic system. China knows we have the best research and higher education system in the world. They want a piece of it. They bribe our professors, spy on our research labs, and crackdown on free speech on campuses through intimidation, retaliation. And this is why I’ve written a letter to more than two thousand universities and colleges urging university administrators and boards of trustees to review the relationships with China. For too long, Beijing has enjoyed free and open access to U.S. society while denying that same access to Americans in China. The PRC has taken advantage of America’s openness to undertake large-scale propaganda, and influence efforts, including through the presence of Confucius Institutes on US campuses. These institutes are organizations that provide access to Chinese language and cultural training for US students. But they are also funded by the Chinese Communist Party and used as arms for propaganda and censorship for the US curriculum and academic free speech. On August 13th, the Department of State designated the Confucius Institutes to the United States as a foreign mission of the People’s Republic of China. This move will require these institutes to regularly report to the State Department about PRC citizens recruiting, funding, and operations in the US. Universities across the country and the world have already began to take a closer look at the malign influence of Confucius Institutes, and they don’t like it. Over the past two years, dozens of colleges and universities in the United States have decided to break ties and close their Confucius Institutes. Clean universities in Sweden, Germany, India, and elsewhere have either closed their Confucius Institutes or taken steps to mandate greater transparency from them. To be clear, the United States encourages the study of Chinese language and the exploration of China’s ancient and vibrant culture, but we cannot allow the Chinese government a place on our campuses if it refuses to abide by the principles of academic freedom, transparency, and free speech. And this is what makes our higher education system so strong. As the former chairman of Purdue University, I know how exceptional our university system is. Both for molding future leaders and for performing the research necessary to keep our industries on the cutting edge. It’s up to all of us to keep it free, safe, clean, and secure. Future generations of Americans will thank us for.