Thursday, August 20, 2020

How China Is Controlling US Classrooms

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Professors at elite US universities say they will turn to using code names and warning labels to protect students.

China's newly created "national-security" law that they imposed on Hong Kong, is now being extended to American college campuses.

Schools are now weighing measures to try to shield students and faculty from prosecution by Chinese authorities.

Here's how it works.

Be informed. Not misled.

How can China control our classrooms?

The Wall Street Journal in a warning to Americans, says: 

"At Princeton University, students in a Chinese politics class will use codes instead of names on their work to protect identities. At Amherst College a professor is considering anonymous online chats so students can speak freely. And Harvard Business School may excuse students from discussing politically sensitive topics if they are worried about the risks."

So much for free speech and expression in America's institutions of higher learning.

We have, unfortunately, become accustomed to conservatives and Christians being shouted down on these campuses---or even denied the freedom to guest speak on our campuses---while China has found a way to control speech in the classroom.

Here's how it works.

There are about 370,000 Chinese students spread throughout America's colleges. There's an additional 7000 students from Hong Kong, as of last school year.

These students often opt to take classes on Chinese law, culture, and politics because they want to understand more about their country and how the world views it.

The WSJ says this:

The issue has become particularly pressing because at least the first semester at many universities will be taught online, meaning some students from China and Hong Kong will connect with their U.S. classmates via video links. Some academics fear the classes could be recorded and ultimately end up in the hands of Chinese authorities.

“We cannot self-censor,” said Rory Truex, an assistant professor who teaches Chinese politics at Princeton. “If we, as a Chinese teaching community, out of fear stop teaching things like Tiananmen or Xinjiang or whatever sensitive topic the Chinese government doesn’t want us talking about, if we cave, then we’ve lost.”

His course will now come with a warning that some of the material might be sensitive and of concern to China’s government, and he said he was introducing blind grading. Students will hand in work bearing a code rather than their name, to prevent any student from being linked to particular views or arguments.

One of the case studies discussed in the materials taught in US classrooms requires students to read diaries from Uighur Muslims held in camps in China's Xinjiang region---where Beijing is said to be inflicting large scale human rights abuses---it also covers Hong Kong, Taiwan and the legitimacy of the Communist Party.

Meg Rithmire, who teaches political science at Harvard Business School, says: "There is no way that I can say to my students, 'You can say whatever you want on the phone call and you are totally free and safe here', it's more about harm mitigation."

About the new Chinese law.

China's new national security law bars what it calls "sedition" and it allows China to reach into American classrooms and punish Chinese students who are hearing "seditious information"---with possible attempts of punishment against instructors.

A University of Minnesota student was sentenced to 6 months' imprisonment after returning home to the Chinese city of Wuhan last year. The charge? He was convicted of "provocation" for tweets he wrote while studying in the US that allegedly mocked Chinese leaders.

The new Chinese law is further challenging because it continues to expand the list of subjects Beijing considers off-limits for discussion. It's "evolving," as progressives like to say.

But China's already in the classroom.

Fox News and several other more conservative news organizations reported last year how China has penetrated the American classroom with their Confucius Institutes.

I wrote about it here in this Faith and Freedom Daily column in 2017 noting that Washington State schools have the Institutes and again in 2018.

Fox reported last year that "Senators are considering legislation to constrain Chinese government-funded institutes they say are spreading propaganda and limiting criticism of China at hundreds of elementary, middle and high schools and colleges across America."

There are more than 100 Confucius Institutes on college and university campuses in the US and are also more than 500 primary schools---at last count.

China has directly provided more than $158 million to US schools for the Confucius Institutes. And China has invested more than $2 billion in Confucius Institutes worldwide.

This is clearly beyond the Communist Chinese government wanting to be accepted---included in the world village.

Our senators got concerned about it last year, but as far as I can see, they expressed concern and moved on.

At the time, Sen Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said: 

"That level of access can stifle academic freedom and provide students and others exposed to Confucius Institute programming with an incomplete picture of Chinese government actions and policies..."

I nominate that for the understatement of the year.

The year before Sen Ted Cruz had expressed concerns and sponsored a provision included in the National Defense Authorization Act that prohibits Pentagon funding of Confucius Institutes, and he pushed for a bill that would lower the threshold for universities reporting foreign contributions from $250,000 to $50,000.

As the senate sub-committee looked into the matter they found that 70% of US schools that received more than $250,000 from the Communist Chinese government failed to properly report the contributions to the federal government.



While Communist China is stifling free speech in our classrooms, they are pumping propaganda into the same classrooms.

And our government-run education complex is taking money from the Communist Chinese government to let them do it.

Otherwise, everything is just fine at your local public school.

Just a passing thought...What if Joe Biden becomes president, how will he deal with this?

Joe Biden's son, Hunter, flew to China in 2013 aboard Air Force Two, while his dad, Vice President Joe Biden, made an official visit with the Chinese Communist government.

It probably doesn't mean anything that according to Peter Schweizer---a best selling investigative author in his book " Secret Empires", says that after Hunter Biden's flight to Beijing aboard Air Force Two, "Hunter's firm would seal a highly unusual $1.5 billion deal with funding from the Chinese government."

Be Informed. Be Discerning. Be Vigilant. Be Prayerful.