American schools have long been a beacon of diverse thought and ideas. However, recent findings suggest China is attempting to spread communist propaganda to school children
A new report revealed that over $17 million has been funneled into American public schools from the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The funding, spread out over 14 years, has come through programs branded as “Confucius Institutes” that claim to teach Chinese language and culture. These classrooms, often called “Little Red Classrooms,” are seen by some as a medium for China to exert its influence on the next generation of Americans.
Parents Defending Education, a watchdog group, has raised concerns over these investments, suggesting that their actual intent might be to extend the global influence of the CCP. The apprehension is shared by former intelligence officer Matt Shoemaker, who said, “Xi Jinping believes that China will not be stopped from imposing its will and ideology onto American citizens.” He also raised the concern about identifying students who might be sympathetic to their cause.
But what exactly are these Confucius Institutes?
The National Association of Scholars describes them as centers focusing on teaching the Chinese language and culture. They create partnerships between American K-12 schools or universities and a Chinese government entity. Interestingly, a handful of these programs are operational in schools near U.S. military bases, including Seattle Public Schools in Washington and Highland Park Independent School District in Texas, raising concerns on national security.
The CCP’s involvement with these programs isn’t limited to mere investments. They have also fostered relationships through sister school partnerships and various programming since 2009. Financial exchanges between these schools and the Chinese government can range from a few thousand dollars to amounts as large as over a million dollars in cases like Thomas Jefferson High School.
This entire operation isn’t just an isolated effort. It’s a small part of the CCP’s broader strategy to exert “soft power” influence on nations worldwide. They use their Ministry of Education to build these ties, with the expansion of these classrooms in the U.S. being a top priority, as found by the United States Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.
The U.S. State Department even designated these Confucius Institutes as a “foreign mission” of the CCP in 2020. They warned that these programs, partially funded by the Chinese government, operate under the guidance of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front Work Department. This department is specifically responsible for overseas propaganda and influence.
While the presence of these institutes is alarming, their actions have also raised eyebrows. For instance, Hanban, which operated these programs until 2021, has previously tried to remove references to Taiwanese institutions, directly echoing the Chinese Communist Party line.
However, not everything is as transparent as it seems. While the U.S. isn’t officially involved in China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is a global campaign by the CCP to advance its policy initiatives, Confucius Institutes are indirectly supporting it. Reports have found that these institutes are considered a “vital force” for international cooperation under this initiative.
These discoveries suggest that American schools may have unintentionally become grounds for foreign influence and propaganda. This revelation warrants an immediate investigation by state and federal officials into China’s involvement in our K-12 schools. Only with transparency can parents make informed decisions about their children’s involvement in these programs.
Moreover, at the national level, it is imperative for Congress to hold hearings to evaluate any potential security risks posed by these programs. As the investigation continues, we urge everyone to stay informed and vigilant.
And, of course, ask this question: What would happen if we set up schools that taught the American Constitution in China?