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'A Threat to US National Security': Texas A&M Shuts Down Chinese Learning Institutes


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Officials with the Texas A&M University system announced their desire to close two Confucius Institutes located at College Station and Prairie View campuses.

The institutions are funded by the Chinese government and provide language and cultural experiences for students.

The decision was made after the university received a letter from Reps. Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Michael McCaul (R-TX).

The lawmakers told the university the institutions pose "a threat to US national security," saying they serve "as a platform for China's intelligence collection and political agenda."

In response, university Chancellor John Sharp released a statement saying: "We have great respect for Congressmen McCaul and Cuellar. I don't question their judgment, nor their patriotism. In addition, they have access to classified information we do not have. We are terminating the contract as they suggested."

Similar decisions were made by the University of Chicago and Pennsylvania State University, with each severing their ties with China.

According to a 2017 study by the National Association of Scholars, the number of Confucius Institutes housed at colleges and universities has grown to well over 1,000 worldwide and 103 in the United States since 2014.

At a recent Senate intelligence committee hearing, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) asked FBI Director Christopher Wray what the intelligence community thinks of this Chinese presence on American campuses of higher education.

Wray confirmed that the FBI is monitoring Confucius Institutes around the US and has ongoing investigations of some of them.

"I think the level of naiveté on the part of the academic sector about this creates its own issues," Wray warned. "They're exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere, but they're taking advantage of it."

"The institutes are complicit in these efforts to covertly influence public opinion and to teach half-truths designed to present Chinese history, government or official policy in the most favorable light," he said.

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