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GOP lawmakers call out Biden for withdrawing from Trump plan to counter China’s influence in U.S. institutions

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The Biden administration quietly withdrew a rule, proposed by the Trump administration, that would have required schools and universities in the United States to report their relationships with Confucius Institutes.

Many GOP lawmakers are concerned that the Biden administration is allowing a foreign influence to operate in the U.S.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-AR, released a statement Tuesday condemning the Confucius Institute rule reversal.

“Confucius Institutes are front groups for the Chinese Communist Party on American campuses. The federal government ought to shut down these regime-run institutes or, at a minimum, require colleges to disclose their secret agreements with them. Instead, the Biden administration is allowing a foreign influence operation to continue in the shadows,” Cotton said.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-FL, tweeted Tuesday, “FBI has warned about #China’s Communist Party using #ConfuciusInstitute to infiltrate American schools. But now Biden quietly withdrawn rule proposed by Trump admin to require schools & universities to disclose their partnerships with these agents of Chinese govt influence.”

Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-NY, called Biden’s decision “not only short-sighted & harmful – it decreases transparency in our education system & emboldens the CCP.”

Confucius Institutes are public educational partnerships between colleges and universities in China and colleges and universities in other countries. They are funded by the Chinese government.

Around 500 K-12 schools and 65 colleges in the U.S. have partnerships with the Confucius Institute U.S. Center.

The Trump administration had concerns that the Chinese Communist Party was using American university campuses to engage in espionage, spread propaganda and promote censorship.

The Trump administration’s Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in August that the Confucius Institute was “an entity controlled by the PRC that advances Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on US campuses and K-12 classrooms.”

The Trump administration began requiring Confucius Institutes to register as foreign missions. The Confucius Institute U.S. Center had to regularly provide information to the State Department about its personnel, recruiting, funding and operations in the United States.

The Daily Caller reported that the Trump administration submitted a proposed rule to the Department of Homeland Security on Dec. 31, 2020, titled ‘Establishing Requirement for Student and Exchange Visitor Program Certified Schools to Disclose Agreements with Confucius Institutes and Classrooms.’

The proposal was withdrawn from consideration on Jan. 26, 2020, according to The Daily Caller.

The Confucius Institute U.S. Center has not commented on the issue.

Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy

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New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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