Republican senators demanded that a major educational institution explain its role in the propaganda campaign being carried out by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in the United States.

In a letter dated Oct. 26, the seven senators asked the College Board to spell out its relationship with Hanban, the Chinese state agency that oversees the controversial Confucius Institutes around the world.

The Confucius Institutes are study centers that are associated with universities around the world with the mask of promoting the Chinese language and Chinese culture, however they have been labeled as a “soft power” tool to improve the image of the CCP abroad.

In fact, its have been described by the U.S. government as “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms.”

That is why Sens. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), James Lankford (R-Okla.), and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have expressed concern about the College Board’s close ties to the Confucius Institutes.

“We are concerned that the PRC [Chinese Communist Party] exploits its partnership with College Board to stifle conversation that might undermine the reputation of the CCP,” the senators wrote in the letter to David Coleman,CEO of the College Board.

Among other points, they requested more information about Beijing’s possible participation in Chinese Advanced Placement exams, the oversight practices that the College Board implemented under foreign influence, and the financial links between educational institutions and entities supported by the Chinese Communist Party. 

The Infiltration of Chinese Communism into American education system

According to the National Association of Scholars (NAS), the College Board has been working with Hanban for at least the past 17 years to develop Advanced Placement (AP) Chinese language and culture tests, one of the most popular AP programs in a foreign language.

The NAS has also shown other links between the College Board and the CCP: The College Board helped establish 15 Confucius classrooms and appointed some 1,650 Chinese language teachers in high schools across the United States. In return, it received $700,000 from Beijing.

As a result, the senators expressed concern that the close relationship between the College Board and Hanban could be helping Beijing influence the minds of young Americans.

In fact, previous NAS reports have documented an “ideological skew” in AP courses for American and European history, directly affecting the learning of tens of thousands of American students.

In 2019, the U.S. Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which prohibits academic institutions from receiving funding for Defense Department language programs if they maintain their Confucius Institutes.

Also pending is the Transparency for Confucius Institutes bill. It requires that agreements between the Confucius Institutes and U.S. educational institutions that house them address the ways in which Beijing exerts inappropriate influence.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has made it clear that the United States wants to ensure that students can learn Chinese and other cultural offerings, but free from the influence of the CCP.

That is why he said that all 75 Confucius Institutes operating in the United States be closed before the end of the year.