Rep. Ralph Norman and Rep. Joe Wilson Applaud Closing of Confucius Institute at the University of South Carolina
Earlier today, the Board of Trustees at the University of South Carolina announced the closure of the Confucius Institute (CI) on their campus. Recently, Rep. Ralph Norman (SC-5) and Rep. Joe Wilson (SC-2) have called on the University to take this action, and have been supported by Rep. Jeff Duncan (SC-3), Rep. Tom Rice, (SC-7), Rep. William Timmons (SC-4), and Rep. Nancy Mace (SC-1).
Since 2004, Confucius Institutes have operated at colleges and universities both in the United States and internationally. Recent scrutiny from national security and foreign policy experts has yielded significant concerns about the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) influence over these institutes. Consequently, the number of CIs operating in the United States has dwindled from more than one hundred in 2018 to approximately 50 today.
Confucius Institutes are run by the Hanban - an organization affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education. While advertising itself as a nonprofit organization, the Hanban is actually run by CCP officials. Representatives from 12 top Chinese state agencies serve on the CI's Executive Council, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Press & Publishing Administration (a propaganda bureau).
The closure of Confucius Institutes across the nation, especially at universities as well-respected as the University of South Carolina, are crucial steps to limit influence communist China's has over American academic institutions.
Rep. Norman issued the following statement on Friday:
"Today, I am proud to announce that the University of South Carolina has decided to close their resident Confucius Institute. This is a crucial step in safeguarding our homeland from the threats of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Along with my colleague Congressman Joe Wilson and the GOP South Carolina delegation, I rejoice in this victory against communist disinformation.
"The CCP is the greatest threat to the American way of life. They deal in duplicity at home, abroad, and even right here in the United States. Across more than fifty of our college campuses the propaganda arm of the CCP has planted surrogates known as "Confucius Institutes" that serve as a vehicle to spread lies and obfuscate the evils of the CCP. Now only one remains in South Carolina at Presbyterian College, my alma matter.”
Rep. Wilson added:
“I applaud the decision of the University of South Carolina, with the leadership of President Bob Caslen, to terminate their relationship with the Confucius Institute. It is no secret that these Institutes have been propaganda arms of the Chinese Communist Party. In 2009, Li Changchun, the head of propaganda for the CCP called Confucius Institutes ‘an important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up.’ FBI Director Christopher Wray testified ‘[Confucius Institutes] are exploiting the very open research and development environment we have, which we all revere. But they’re taking advantage of it.’
Since originally expressing concern over the Institute in March 2018, I have appreciated the continued dialogue and open discussion with the University. There is too much at stake in South Carolina and at the University to forgo taking preventative measures when it comes it our academic independence, intellectual property, and national intelligence.”
Rep. Rice had this to say:
"I am pleased to see that the University of South Carolina, my alma mater, has closed its Confucius Institute. The CCP has exploited the openness of American universities to further their agenda of suppressing democracy, threatening our national security, stealing our technological innovations, and undercutting our workers. We must continue to do all we can to safeguard American institutions, preserve our competitive edge from unfair competition, and hold malign actors accountable."