The Chinese Communist Party’s Long March through the Institutions has been proceeding right under our noses, and it’s high time we applied serious and penetrating scrutiny to the Party’s practices as they relate to our own institutions. A case in point is the piles of money the ChiComs have been pouring into U.S. colleges and universities without anyone seeming to care. As Peter Wood, president of the National Association of Scholars, points out, “The dark money in politics is a fraction of the dark money in education.” Though federal law mandates that gifts of $250,000 or more by foreign entities to American universities must be disclosed, this rule is easily circumvented, and for many years there has been little attempt at enforcement anyway. In the past year the U.S. Department of Education has identified $6.5 billion in previously undisclosed foreign funding. Wood believes that Harvard and Yale have, by themselves, raked in billions of unreported foreign gifts and contracts in recent years. China isn’t doing this as a warm gesture of friendship. It wants something in return. It need hardly be noted that the interests of the Chinese Communists diverge significantly from the interests of a liberal democracy.
China’s innocent-sounding Confucius Institute, which markets itself as a benign means of encouraging the study of Chinese culture and language in the U.S., is, of course, a tool of the Party via the government agency Hanban. The idea is to get U.S. universities dependent on ChiCom money and then slowly exert influence. Having a university department on your payroll is an excellent way to make it do your bidding. A few senators, notably Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, have been raising the alarm about what’s happening, but, as Wood notes in the Spectator U.S., the extent to which China’s rulers have been infiltrating our most prestigious institutions is disturbing.
Our friends on the left say unabashedly that a crisis should not be allowed to go to waste. The Wuhan virus should inspire all of us in the West to rethink the degree to which we want the Chinese Communists steering our culture, our politics and our economy. Our friends on the left will complain that applying scrutiny to what the Chinese Communists are doing to our country is racist. Let them.