Two members of Congress introduced a bill to stop Chinese purchases of a number of private schools in the United States. The school’s ties to the U.S. military drive much of the concern.
In particular, several members of Congress are concerned about potential Chinese influence in a series of private schools that also receive Pentagon support. These schools often feed students into the Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC).
The most recent revelations show the possible extent of the Chinese government’s influence in the United States.
Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL), a former Green Beret, is working with Rep Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA), an air force veteran, in the effort. In particular, the two reps are introducing a bill in Congress that would prevent the Chinese Communist Party from funding such schools.
Rep. Waltz said that the communist party was using money from firms to purchase these schools, calling the situation “troublesome.”
“Our legislation would ensure that the Pentagon will no longer provide funding to these schools.”
Houlahan also said that he is particularly concerned both as a former ROTC cadet and as a former teacher, stating that she was “greatly disturbed” upon hearing about the influence of China.
The concern about Chinese influence in American schools is not new. In 2022, former Trump CIA chief Mike Pompeo wrote about the potential damage caused by Chinese influence in American education.
Essentially every university in America is dependent on money from China.
I can promise you that CCP funding of schools is not from goodwill—it's to conduct deep influence operations.
No school should accept funding from the CCP.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) September 7, 2022
The dual nature of the schools as a major part of American youth, as well as a major partner of the JROTC raises particular concern among American officials. As cited by the former CIA head, even universities are “dependent” on money from the Chinese Communist Party.
The Republican effort comes after the recent spying episode in which a Chinese spy balloon traversed most of the continental United States prior to being shot down over the coast of South Carolina.
The Chinese spy balloon incident highlighted the much larger system of spying the Chinese Communist Party established in the United States and beyond. For many Republicans on Capitol Hill, the risk of such illicit activity happening through other means is unacceptable.
Furthermore, many conservative lawmakers highlight China’s primary role in the fentanyl trade. The synthetic opioid has been responsible for a major increase in heroin overdoses.