Virginia Universities' Unholy Alliance With China
AP Photo/Matthew Pennington
Virginia Universities' Unholy Alliance With China
AP Photo/Matthew Pennington
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Confucius Institute teacher Li Nana, above, during a 2018 interview at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

The Chinese Communist Party is using Virginia universities to spread its malign influence, and it is both wrong and unconstitutional. 

It is well understood the CCP is America’s greatest long-term threat, so we must defend against China’s broad-scale aggression against America. The challenge ahead is for every American – and every state government – to play a role in fighting back, especially in Virginia. 

For several decades, China has waged a non-violent war against the United States. The tactics don’t reflect war as it is understood traditionally, but the CCP is committed to infiltrating the West by any means necessary. The most infamous aspect of this effort is China’s centrally planned and executed stealing of massive amounts of American intellectual property. Even FBI Director Christopher Wray has repeatedly noted China’s theft has been “on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history.” 

They have also established major influence in corporations, Hollywood, and sports leagues -- all of which have capitulated to China's communist regime. 

Disney faced backlash for filming a movie in the Xinjiang region, where China has enslaved an entire ethnic group. When one NBA team owner had the temerity to publicly support the peaceful protesters in Hong Kong, the league was confronted by its largest revenue source: China. Pathetically, the NBA folded to the tyrants rather than standing for freedom. Instead of expressing support for those seeking freedom in Hong Kong, the NBA caved to the communist regime.  

China will use its economic power to achieve its evil political goals of remaking the world in its own authoritarian image, but it does not end there. The regime is also seeking to influence American educational institutions by indoctrinating future generations.

The communists have extended their influence by entering into agreements with American universities – including several in Virginia – to have control over the teaching and presentation of the Chinese language and culture. The College of William & Mary and George Mason University, along with Old Dominion, have entered into such agreements.

These agreements set up what are called “Confucius Institutes” at each school.  The other party to each of these agreements is a university or institution in China that is part of the Communist Chinese Party’s tyrannical government.  Thus, in the case of William and Mary, ODU, and GMU, these agreements are effectively between an agency of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the communist government of China.  This not only presents a question about communist influence, but it also violates the U.S. Constitution. Article I, Section 10 says: “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power.”

The agreements between these Virginia universities and the communist government of China violates the Constitution because they are agreements between a state and a foreign power, and there is no congressional approval for these arrangements.  And these agreements are not just for the exchange of students; rather, they allow China control over the most important element of sovereignty within a university setting, namely, the power to select the teachers.

In addition to being unconstitutional, these agreements facilitate China’s long-term strategic goals of painting itself in a falsely positive light in the United States.  China has been determined by our own government to be forcibly interning millions of its own citizens in Xinjiang province because they refuse to become atheists and because of their cultural differences with the rest of China. These actions are simply evil, and have been deemed “genocide” by our Department of State.

Under the Confucius Institute agreements, a communist country committing genocide is choosing the teachers at Virginia universities.

Again, FBI Director Wray has said: “The Chinese government is engaged in a broad, diverse campaign of theft and malign influence, and it can execute that campaign with authoritarian efficiency. … They’re calculating. They’re persistent. They’re patient. And they’re not subject to the righteous constraints of an open, democratic society or the rule of law.”  

There are actions that everyday Virginians can take to fight back and speak out. But this issue of influence on our college campuses requires leadership from those elected in Richmond. 

The Boards of Visitors of our universities, Virginia’s General Assembly, and the governor of Virginia need to take all necessary steps – immediately – to terminate these unconstitutional agreements that only serve to advance the Chinese Communist Party’s own agenda.

Pete Snyder is a candidate for governor of Virginia.

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