US designates Chinese-funded Confucius Institutes as 'foreign missions'

The designation will require the institutes to disclose certain information not previously required by the federal government.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement designating Confucius Institutes as "foreign missions."

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has declared Confucius Institutes a “foreign mission” of the People’s Republic of China.

In a statement Thursday, Pompeo echoed similar past statements made by multiple U.S. intelligence officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, which called attention to China’s use of Confucius Institutes as “propaganda” centers.  

[RELATED: China’s presence at US colleges runs much deeper than Confucius Institutes]

”Today, the Department of State designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the PRC, recognizing CIUS for what it is:  an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms,” Pompeo said. “Confucius Institutes are funded by the PRC and part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus.”

According to Pompeo, these actions are being taken so that U.S. education systems can re-evaluate “whether these CCP-backed programs should be allowed to continue, and if so, in what fashion.” 

[RELATED: Here are the Chinese ‘propaganda’ centers currently operating in the US]

Recently, universities worldwide have begun investigating the influence that Beijing has had in their curriculum. 

While the U.S. wants to continue offering students the opportunity to learn about the Chinese language and culture, they want to ensure that it is done “free from the manipulation of the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies,” Pompeo said. 

The announcement comes as 75 Confucius Institutes are currently in operation in the U.S, as Campus Reform has reported

The number of operational Confucius Institutes on American college campuses has decreased dramatically in recent years after President Donald Trump signed a bill into law to withhold certain federal funds from U.S. taxpayer-funded academic institutions if they continued to house Confucius Institutes. 

”Entities designated as foreign missions must adhere to terms and conditions established by my office aimed at regulating the manner in which they receive certain benefits in the United States,” State Department Office of Foreign Missions Acting Director Cliff Seagroves said Thursday. 

”As a result, we are now requiring CIUS [Confucius Institutes US] to provide Department of State with basic information concerning their personnel rosters, real estate holdings, as well as the need to obtain our prior approval to make any future acquisitions of real property in the United States. Further, CIUS is also now required to regularly provide a set of reports concerning their funding of personnel and operations at the Confucius Institutes and classrooms around the United States, as well as to provide us with information concerning their curriculum and training materials that they provide to such organizations,” said Seagroves.

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