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Alabama lawmaker works to shut down Chinese Communist Confucius Institutes

CCP uses them to ‘spy and romanticize communist ideologies,’ U.S. congressman says

Alabama state Rep. Tommy Hanes and the College Republican Federation of Alabama are advocating for a total shutdown of Chinese Communist Party-funded Confucius Institutes in the state.

Hanes plans to introduce the legislation this January when the state legislature returns for its next session, but he pre-filed the legislation this week.

The bill would prohibit public colleges from providing “support for, funding for, or use of its campus facilities for the operation of cultural institutes” that are “affiliated with, funded by, or supported by the government of China.”

It’s a simple, common-sense piece of legislation taking up only two pages.

The legislation drew support from the College Republican Federation of Alabama. Clint Reid, chairman of the group, said his group plans to “work on this issue until both Confucius Institutes in Alabama are shuttered,” according to an article in National Review.

The legislation targets the two remaining propaganda centers in the state, one at Alabama A&M and one at Troy University. The centers, which enter campuses under the guise of offering cultural programming and training in Mandarin, have come under fire for their ties and allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party.

The proposed legislation drew support from Congressional representatives. The National Association of Scholars identified 75 Confucius Institutes on U.S. campuses as of July 1.

Congressman Dan Crenshaw, a Republican from Texas and a rising star in the GOP, tweeted: “How many Americans are aware that we allow Chinese propaganda, paid for by the Communist party, to be taught on hundreds of our campuses? RT if you think that’s a bad idea.”

Republican Congressman Chris Stewart of Utah quote-tweeted Crenshaw and said: “Confucius Institutes have no place in American campuses & should be evicted. They serve as springboards for the #CCP to spy and romanticize communist ideologies.”

Representative Mo Brooks, a Republican who represents Alabama in Congress, had urged Alabama public universities to reject the Confucius Institute in a July 28 statement .

“The Communist Chinese Party cannot be allowed to gain influence over America’s education system or undermine American national security,” Brooks said. The same day, Hanes called the centers “a propagandist arm of the Chinese Communist Party,” according to a copy of the statement provided to The College Fix from Hanes’ office.

“Communist China is America’s geopolitical foe, not our friend,” Brooks said. “America must wise up and fight back against Communist China’s egregious espionage and propaganda on American soil.”

In March, Iowa Republican Senator Chuck Grassley declared the Institutes “fronts for Chinese propaganda.” A 2018 Politico article noted that the history taught by the centers ignore China’s history of human rights abuses and teaches that Taiwan is part of mainland China.

The legislation would be another important step toward reducing the influence of the Chinese Communist Party on American education.

In June, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to give campus officials the authority and responsibility to ensure the Institutes do not violate free speech rights.

In August, the State Department designated the Institutes as “foreign mission[s].”

Two in three colleges with Confucius Institutes do not properly report the funding received from the Chinese government according to an investigation in 2019.

The Chinese Communist Party reportedly plans to rebrand and rename its Confucius Institutes.

No amount of rebranding can conceal the fact that the Confucius Institutes serve as a propaganda tool for the CCP.

MORE: Trump Administration designates Confucius Institutes as ‘foreign mission’

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Matt has previously worked at Students for Life of America, Students for Life Action and Turning Point USA. While in college, he wrote for The College Fix as well as his college newspaper, The Loyola Phoenix. He holds a B.A. from Loyola University-Chicago and an M.A. from the University of Nebraska-Omaha. He lives in northwest Indiana with his family.