Chinese company buying NJ university by July 1 (UPDATED)
UPDATE: Rider University has backtracked on the deal to sell one of its schools to the Chinese company, Kaiwen Education Technology.
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A Chinese education company is set to buy a New Jersey university by July 1.
Rider University signed an agreement in June 2018 to sell its second campus, Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ to Beijing Kaiwen Education Technology Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based education company.
While Rider’s administration is facing two lawsuits challenging the legality of the sale, the school may end up following through with the agreement, with a transfer of ownership set to take place in July. This is despite the fact that the situation had to go as far as being investigated by the office of the NJ State Attorney General, only to find insufficient evidence for the sale to be illegal.
Earlier in 2019, Sen. Ted Cruz proposed legislation aimed at reducing China's foothold in American universities using Confucius Institutes as a front for the Chinese Communist Party. These institutes receive funding from the Chinese government with the alleged goal of simply teaching about the ancient history and culture of China. But they have been caught on many campuses spreading Chinese government propaganda, as well as lies about the country’s human rights-repressive history, such as the Tiananmen Square Massacre.
U.S.-China tensions are at an all-time high when considering issues regarding trade and 5G to President Xi Jinping’s recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong-Un, as well as international outrage over China’s blatant human rights violations regarding its Uighur Muslim population of 1,000,000, which the nation is sending to “re-education” camps.
Kaiwen Education is also in the business of building steel bridges and was called Jiangsu Zhongtai Bridge Steel Structure Co. Ltd. up until December. Despite this, the company is spending $40 million to purchase Rider’s Westminster campus, pledging an additional $16 million for capital and working capital expenses.
It is unclear whether or not the Chinese company intends to comply with American law or instead take orders from Beijing.
Rider University spokeswoman Kristine Brown addressed the sale to Campus Reform.
“Kaiwen Education’s obligation to act in full accordance with U.S. laws and regulations is outlined in the Purchase and Sale Agreement, including the requirement to obtain all necessary licenses and accreditations,” Brown said. “Furthermore, Rider would not have moved forward if we didn't believe in Kaiwen's commitment to and strategic plan for Westminster”.
Rising junior June White, who is a secondary education major and vice president of Riders Turning Point USA chapter, believes this is simply a revamped effort by the Chinese government to set up an even stronger presence in American education institutions.
“It is worrisome that China is trying to spread their message of communism despite all the failures that they have endured because of communist and socialist policies,” White told Campus Reform. “It's even more concerning that these attempts are practically in our backyard with China's attempt to buy Rider's choir college.”
“Given the political climate on our Lawrenceville campus, I fear that students are more concerned with being politically correct and inclusive than they are about being honest and realistic, which would make our campus [a]n easy target for the Chinese to take advantage of,” the Turning Point vice president continued. “Hopefully, their efforts are successfully blocked and we all start to band together against socialism and communism.”
Campus Reform reached out to Rider to verify that July 1, the date by which the school announced in June 2018 that the Westminster Choir College transaction would be complete, was still applicable.
"Discussions regarding the future of Westminster Choir College are continuing," Brown told Campus Reform. "We have no additional information to share at this time, but will do as soon as we are able."
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