China's Confucius Classrooms in US Public Schools: Are They Brainwashing America's Children?
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China is believed to have spent at least $17 million establishing so-called "Confucius Classrooms" in 143 school districts across the US, teaching school children Beijing's view of the world.
Confucius Classrooms are the public-school version of Confucius Institutes – Chinese government-financed cultural programs that operate on college campuses.
But while Congress has cracked down on Confucius Institutes by targeting their funding, experts told the House Committee on Education and the Workforce that Confucius Classrooms are operating with little or no oversight.
Oklahoma Superintendent of Public Instruction Ryan Walters told House members, "This is an issue of national security. When you look at the indoctrination going on in our classrooms from several different perspectives, this is one of the most heinous."
"What they want to do is influence our children into believing that, no, it's a good system and China is a normal country that is not tyrannical," said China expert Mike Gonzalez of the Heritage Foundation. "We cannot allow that to happen."
Confucius Classrooms are presented to school districts as cultural exchange programs and the chance to learn the Mandarin language. But they are funded by the Chinese communist government, and they teach young people the Chinese Communist Party view of politics and history.
Helen Raleigh of The Federalist and author of Backlash: How China's Aggression Has Backfired, says, "They will not talk about sensitive issues such as what happened in Tiananmen Square in 1989, and they will not talk about Taiwan at all, or when they talk about Taiwan, they will use the official version to say, 'Taiwan is a province of China, always was and always will be.'"
And China is offering schools big money. Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County, Virginia has reportedly disclosed that it has received more than $1 million in donations through the Confucius Classroom program.
Nicole Neily, president of Parents Defending Education, also says the Confucius Classrooms are operating near 20 military bases, influencing the children of American military personnel.
During the House hearing, Neily said, "To your question about the military bases, we don't know what is happening. And that to me is the most frightening part. Who are these (Confucius Classroom) employees? What do they have access to and what is going back and forth, both going into the mind of our children? And then what data is flowing out of this?"
That's a concern because Confucius Classrooms also give the Chinese government access to data about the schools and the students.
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