Leading House Republicans have launched a congressional investigation into China's infiltration of American college campuses, according to a letter sent Monday to the Department of Education.
Rep. Michael McCaul (R., Texas), GOP leader of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and six of his colleagues are requesting documents and information about efforts by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate the U.S. academic system and spread its state-sponsored propaganda.
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The investigation is part of a larger effort in Congress to investigate public and private institutions about their ties to China and possible state-backed espionage operations. In light of revelations that China lied about the severity and spread of the coronavirus, lawmakers have launched multiple efforts to crack down on China's foreign propaganda efforts.
"We write to seek a better understanding of the Department's efforts to address unreported foreign direct investment into the U.S. higher education system," according to the letter, which was also signed by Reps. Jim Jordan (R., Ohio), the House Oversight Committee's ranking member; Michael Rogers (R., Ala.), the Homeland Security Committee's ranking member; and Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), the Intelligence Committee's ranking member.
"We have been concerned about the potential for the Chinese government to use its strategic investments to turn American college campuses into indoctrination platforms for American students," the congressmen write.
Since the coronavirus pandemic erupted, China has cracked down on academic research about the virus. The lawmakers are concerned the Communist Party could pressure U.S. institutions to censor research about the virus.
"China has strategically invested in U.S. academia to attempt to steal confidential information and technology from U.S. companies, and even the U.S. government," the lawmakers write. "Besides China peddling money for influence in U.S. institutions of higher education (IHE), China is restricting any research regarding the origins of COVID-19 that does not comport with CCP propaganda."
The lawmakers are asking the Education Department to turn over all documents related to all U.S. schools that have accepted funds from China, including any investigations into American colleges and personnel who may have accepted gifts from the Chinese government.