Congress Makes Move Against Chinese Funding Of Universities

The Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s financial support of American institutions would be subject to full disclosure under a new bill pushed by Republicans in the House. The bill, proposed by Representative Jim Banks, would drastically modify federal disclosure standards by requiring universities to disclose any funding from hostile nations like China and Russia to the Department of Education. 

Many universities, including Stanford and the University of Delaware, have accepted millions of dollars in Chinese funding without being transparent about their ties to the Chinese government. The reporting requirements included in Banks’ bills are among the strictest to date.

To ensure that all donations from China and other antagonistic nations listed by the proposal are reported to the federal government, the Safeguarding American Education From Foreign Control Act would alter the Higher Education Act 1965. The measure expands the reporting obligations to include China, Russia, North Korea, and Iran. To better monitor CCP funding at American universities and examine allegations of Chinese influence peddling, the bill would mandate that the Education Department share details of such gifts with the Director of National Intelligence and the FBI.

This legislation is part of a more extensive effort by House Republicans this summer to counter what they call “Joe Biden’s soft-on-China agenda.” 

Due to a lobbying campaign by many prominent universities, the Biden administration has been reluctant to enforce the statute that compels institutions to record contributions of $250,000 or more. 

Banks and other prominent Republicans have been pushing the subject since early this year, expressing concern that the Biden administration has allowed Chinese money for American colleges to rise after ceasing enforcement of a federal statute limiting the reporting of foreign gifts and donations. The proposed legislation would compel the government to act and make public all funding from China to American colleges.

The House China committee is also looking into allegations that the Chinese government uses the Confucius Institutes established on American college campuses are being used by the Chinese government as a cover to steal confidential American research. Institutions in the United States are not allowed to receive federal funding if they also host a Confucius Institute, but the Biden administration started issuing exceptions for such institutions early this year.