(WEHT)– Attorney General Todd Rokita announced he launched an investigation into Valparaiso University’s association with the Confucius Institutes, which is believed to function as a propaganda arm of the Chinese Communist Party.
Confucius Institutes have operated for years within the state of Indiana.
“Hoosiers deserve answers and transparency into the impact of these institutes on our schools and students,” said Attorney General Rokita. “Our investigation seeks to uncover whether the Chinese government has attempted to exert political influence and manipulate the attitudes and beliefs of Hoosiers through their Confucius Institutes. Our office will use every tool at our disposal to protect Hoosiers and put liberty into action.”
The investigation is aimed at getting to the bottom of the true intent of any relationships between Valparaiso University’s programming and the Chinese Communist Party. Attorney General Rokita issued a civil investigative demand to Valparaiso University to see if anyone violated the Higher Education Act of 1965 or Indiana’s Deceptive Consumer Sales Act.
Valparaiso University reported receiving more than $1.1 million from the Chinese government between 2010 and 2019. These documents filed by Valparaiso University with the U.S. Department of Education do not specify how this funding was used, but Rokita says the university’s webpages explaining the partnership make clear that not only did programs target Valparaiso University students but also younger students through sponsorship of programs at area K-12 Indiana schools.
In 2019, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations issued a bipartisan report on the threat posed by Confucius Institutes and similar entities. Key findings include:
- Chinese directors and teachers at Confucius Institutes pledge to protect Chinese national interests. Chinese teachers should “conscientiously safeguard national interests,” and their contract terminates if they “violate Chinese law” or “engage in activities detrimental to national interests.”
- Since 2006, the Chinese government has provided more than $158 million to more than 100 U.S. schools for Confucius Institutes.
- The Chinese Communist Party controls nearly every aspect of Confucius Institutes at U.S. schools, including its funding, staff, and all programming. It even has veto authority over events and speakers.
- The Chinese government also funds teachers for Confucius Classrooms in the United States, which teach Chinese language and culture in K-12 schools. There are more than 1,000 Confucius Classrooms worldwide and more than 500 in the United States. Expanding the Confucius Classrooms program is a priority for the Chinese Communist Party.
- There is little transparency in the selection of Chinese directors and teachers who staff Confucius Institutes. They are vetted and hired by the Chinese government, and U.S. universities choose from a pool of applicants approved by the Chinese Communist Party.