Steube Introduces Bill to Curb Threats from CCP in Higher Education Institutions
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Greg Steube (R-Fla.) today introduced the Protecting Higher Education from Foreign Threats Act, legislation which would protect higher education institutions from influence by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
“It is well documented that the Chinese Communist Party sees our higher education institutions as an opportunity for espionage and a place to spread their communist propaganda, even going beyond Confucius Institutes and reaching university professors,” Steube said. “While Florida is taking promising steps to curb this national security threat, Congress and the Biden Administration need to take decisive action to send a message to China that their communist mission is not welcome or acceptable in our education system.”
Specifically, this legislation would prohibit higher education institutions and their employees from being funded by the CCP. Failure to comply with this standard would cause the higher education institution to lose any and all Federal financial assistance.
The CCP’s attempts to infiltrate American universities has been far-reaching and has affected several higher education institutions across the United States. In December 2020, it was reported that Columbia University did not disclose a $1 million gift from the CCP for the university to start a Confucius Institute.
The CCP-backed Confucius Institutes have also reached Steube’s home state of Florida, prompting Governor Ron DeSantis (R) to call for increased transparency in university funding from countries of concern, including the People’s Republic of China.
In Florida, this funding and CCP propaganda spreading has not only been in the form of Confucius Institutes, but it has also reached university professors. In the last four years, several professors from the University of Central Florida have been fired for their ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
On the State level, Florida House Speaker Chris Sprowls (R-Palm Harbor) has been spearheading the efforts in the Florida Legislature to back this proposal and fight CCP influence in the State’s higher education institutions. On March 17, 2021, the state proposal was unanimously approved by the House Education and Employment Committee, so it will now go to the next step in the state lawmaking process.