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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 But now Biden quietly withdrawn rule proposed by Trump admin to require schools & universities to disclose their partnerships with these agents of Chinese govt influence.”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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REPORT: China has vast network of covert police stations around the world

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China has a vast network of covert police stations abroad, according to a recent report by Safeguard Defenders, an NGO that focuses on human rights violations in China and other Asian countries. These police stations serve consular functions, but are also used by China to crack down on what the CCP deems “illegal” activity of Chinese nationals abroad. The police stations include at least 38 run by the Fuzhou City police, and 22 run by the Qingtian City police. Cities housing these police stations include New York, Toronto (which has three stations), London (two), Paris (three), Buenos Aires, Rio De Janeiro, and Tokyo.

Key findings of the report are below.

“Persuaded to return”

According to China, China has “persuaded to return [to China]” 230,000 Chinese nationals living aboard from April 2021 to July 2022 alone to face charges of fraud and telecommunications fraud. A Yangxia police station set up in Mozambique, for example, persuaded a Chinese national to return to China after being accused of stealing money from his employer. Chinese authorities also put pressure on the accused family to convince the accused to surrender.

Roughly 54,000 Chinese nationals were persuaded to return from northern Myanmar alone, in the first nine months of 2021. In July 2022, the government of Wenchang City warned that its citizens living in northern Myanmar must check in with their local police stations or face multiple penalties including blocking their children from attending urban schools back in China. Similarly, in February 2022, the government of Liayang City stated that Chinese “illegally staying” in northern Myanmar must return or the bank accounts of their immediate family members could be frozen.

The Nine Forbidden Countries

China has claimed that nine countries contain serious levels of fraud and telecom fraud perpetrated by Chinese nationals. Since November 2021, China has declared that Chinese citizens living in these nine countries must return to China immediately unless they have an “emergency reason” or a “strict necessity” to travel or stay in those countries. Those countries are: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, the UAE, and Turkey. However, the report questions whether these countries are truly awash in such fraud, as most of China’s oversees police stations are in the West, and only one of the nine countries (Cambodia) has such a police station. Chinese staying in the nine forbidden countries, as well as threats to family members as stated above, creates a “guilt-by-association” atmosphere intended to repatriate the Chinese nationals.

Conclusion

According to the report, Chinese police stations abroad serve to bypass “bilateral extradition treaties or other mechanisms of judicial cooperation” to cooperate with CCP-linked NGOs which effectively “[sets] up an alternative policing and judicial system within third countries.” Instead of using international judicial cooperation, which establishes due process, the presumption of innocence, and the right to a fair trial, China uses the above “persuade-to-return” methods and transnational police stations to circumvent international law and coerce Chinese nationals to return to China for trials. These policies show the power of China’s long-arm oppression over its own subjects.

You can follow Steve Postal on Twitter @HebraicMosaic

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