House Republicans probed the Department of Defense (DOD) regarding Chinese Communist Party (CCP) influence at American universities.
GOP Reps. Pat Fallon of Texas and Jim Banks of Indiana led a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday, demanding answers on DOD funding to schools with Confucius Institutes or other CCP-linked entities.
The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prohibits DOD funding from going to American institutions of higher education (IHEs) starting Oct. 1 of this year.
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“Congress put in place provisions in previous National Defense Authorization Acts to combat the pervasiveness of Confucius Institutes on American institutions of higher education (IHEs),” Fallon told Fox News Digital.
“Unfortunately, we have not received clarity from Secretary Austin as to how DoD plans to deconflict long term contractual obligations that will violate Section 1062 of FY21 NDAA,” he said. “This important provision is set to go into effect on October 1, 2023.”
Fallon said “DoD funding should not be going to IHEs that have institutes funded by Chinese Communist propaganda or that have partnerships with PRC universities.”
“We cannot allow malign Chinese influence to encroach on American society anymore. It is time to enforce the law,” he continued.
Banks, who is running for Senate, recounted that last year, “Congressional Republicans passed important provisions to crack down on malign Chinese influence at universities.”
“Since then, the Biden DoD has refused to enforce the law as Congress intended and allowed the Chinese Communist Party to continue its infiltration of American universities,” Banks said.
“If a Communist Party organization acts like a Confucius Institute and serves the same purpose as a Confucius Institute, then DoD should treat it as a Confucius Institute,” he continued. “House Republicans will use our majority to ensure the White House begins holding China accountable to the law.”
Joining Fallon and Banks on the letter are 22 cosigners, including GOP Reps. Dan Crenshaw of Texas, Michael Waltz of Florida, and Ben Cline of Virginia, as well as House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik of New York.
In the letter, the lawmakers wrote that, in spite of the October 1st cutoff, the DOD “has awarded funding with contractual obligations to these institutions in question extending beyond” the legal deadline “and in violation of the law.”
“These concerns were underscored in a previous letter from House Republicans along with several questions about how the DoD will meet its Sec. 1062 requirements,” the lawmakers wrote, referencing the NDAA provision.
The lawmakers also called out the DOD for not responding to their July letter last year raising concerns about Confucius Institutes on college campuses after the department said in the press it would.
“A response to this congressional inquiry was never given,” they wrote, peppering the secretary with 10 questions regarding the CCP-linked entities on U.S. campuses.
The lawmakers also pointed out that the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said that Confucius Institutes “advance Beijing’s preferred narrative and subvert important academic principles such as institutional autonomy and academic freedom.”
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The Republicans also noted that Confucius Institutes’ parent organization — the Office of Chinese Language Council International — have rebranded themselves as the Center for Language Exchange and Cooperation to get around the law barring their funding.
A DOD spokesperson told Fox News Digital the department would be responding to the lawmakers’ letter.