A new State Department report warns that the anti-American influence in higher education is undermining U.S. efforts to counter the China threat.
The report, titled “The Elements of the China Challenge,” was drafted by The Policy Planning Staff under the Office of the Secretary of State and warns that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is triggering a “new era of great-power competition” in which the CCP not only aims to be at the top of the “established world order,” but also seeks to revise it with China’s “authoritarian goals and hegemonic” ambitions being at the center of a new focus.
The report gives a brief history of the CCP and its 20th-century Marxist-Leninist inspirations. It also outlines its vulnerabilities, including but not limited to the fact that because it is an autocratic state, it:
- Limits the potential for innovation
- Creates challenges in alliance-building
- Presents domestic challenges due to repressive tactics against its citizens
A 10-point plan is presented to help the United States overcome the challenges and threats China poses against the United States and on the world stage. A number of these points specifically draw a direct arrow to the work Clarion Project has done in its campaign to educate the public about the China threat.
The two points below speak to the need to educate the next generation of Americans about the differences between living under China authoritarianism and communism and the American values of freedom:
“… the United States must reform American education, equipping students to shoulder the enduring responsibilities of citizenship in a free and democratic society by understanding America’s legacy of liberty and also preparing them to meet the special demands of a complex, information-age, globalized economy for expertise in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
“… the United States must champion the principles of freedom — principles that are at once universal and at the heart of the American national spirit — through example; speeches; educational initiatives; public diplomacy; foreign assistance and investment; sanctions in more difficult circumstances as well as other forms of non-military pressure; and, where the nation’s vital interests are at stake and all else has failed, military force.”
The report notes the need not only to educate American citizens about the “scope and implications of the China challenge” but how a new generation of public servants fluent in Chinese must be trained to meet China on its own terms.
The report also details the “serious abuses” committed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in American higher education:
“The PRC commits serious abuses in American higher education. Although in many cases China obtains technological knowledge from the United States through legitimate and productive academic exchanges, it also acquires such expertise illegally through the Thousand Talents Program and other state-run or party-run recruitment efforts.
“Recent cases at the University of Kansas and Harvard illustrate the dangers. Furthermore, while the United States welcomes Chinese students to introduce them to the blessings of political freedom, the CCP has an interest in conscripting Chinese nationals studying abroad to advance the interests of communist dictatorship.
“Indeed, the PRC punishes Chinese students studying in the United States for dissenting from official CCP views and for otherwise speaking freely.
“Universities’ financial dependence on tuition dollars from China complicates matters: in recent years, American universities have intentionally admitted more Chinese nationals because they, unlike many American students, pay ballooning tuition costs in full.
“At the graduate and undergraduate level, China sends more students to the United States than any other country. And Beijing uses Confucius Institutes not only to promulgate CCP-approved views about China and the world but also to press U.S. universities to censor discussion, curtail inquiry, and generally conform to CCP dogma and political objectives.”
Speaking to The Washington Free Beacon, Rachelle Peterson, a senior fellow at the National Association of Scholars, calls the State Department report “spot on,” noting that American youth are being raised with a “biased, disfigured teaching of our own history [which makes them] receptive to Chinese propaganda.” She further adds:
“For years, students have been taught American history as an unbroken chain of violated promises, ignoring the groundbreaking work Americans have done to advance the cause of personal liberty and individual responsibility. Is it any wonder that students, convinced America is inherently bigoted, find Chinese propaganda persuasive?”
Author and speaker Helen Raleigh, an expert on China, spoke with Clarion Project on China’s ambitions, stating that the CCP believes in the “law of the jungle,” in which “might is right.” That, paired with China’s regional and global aspirations and their own repressive communist regime, underscores Raleigh’s assessment that “the true nature of communism isn’t everyone having everything … but about raw power.”
The latest State Department report confirms the analysis Raleigh and others offer regarding China’s fixation on asserting raw power on a global stage. Clarion Project’s recent findings, as detailed in our short documentary film Covert Cash (see below), also confirm this analysis.
One of China’s prime soft strategies has been to enter the U.S. through academic portals. Clarion Project’s investigative findings estimate that universities have hidden from the government over $18 billion in foreign funding (from China and other countries).
For more on how China corrupts, operates and asserts global power through Western universities, watch our recent webinar (below) that breaks down this process — specifically how foreign funding is undermining our democratic values and how academia is failing the challenge this poses.
The webinar stems from Clarion Project’s exclusive short film Covert Cash, which expands on the same issue. Watch the webinar then scroll down to watch Covert Cash.