Campus Reform | American universities have accepted over $24 million from CCP since 2015

American universities have accepted over $24 million from CCP since 2015

Several American universities have accepted funds from Chinese government sources since 2015.

Of the two dozen schools that accepted Chinese government money, several of them have employed professors who were later charged over their alleged links to China.

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Several hundred American universities accepted gifts from private Chinese entities since 2015, with dozens taking money from the Chinese Communist Party, according to an analysis of Department of Education data by Campus Reform.

Section 117 of the Higher Education Act of 1965 requires universities to publicly disclose “contracts with and gifts from a foreign source that, alone or combined, are valued at $250,000 or more in a calendar year.” 

The Department of Education makes this information public on its website. However, the actual amount of money given to American universities by the Chinese government since 2015 is likely far greater than $24 million since American colleges are only "required" to report gifts or contracts from foreign sources that amount to $250,000 or greater.

Although several thousand donations arrived from individual Chinese citizens, two dozen of America’s top universities accepted money directly from institutions controlled by the Chinese government. Among these are leading technical and medical universities.

American universities reported a total of $24,381,020.63 accepted from Chinese government sources, in the form of contracts or gifts, since 2015.

However, as Campus Reform reported in October, the Department of Education issued a report which found that many American institutions of higher education were not in compliance with Section 117, noting that billions of dollars have gone unreported.

MIT accepted a $395,000 contract from an unspecified Chinese government source, for example. The University of Texas-Austin accepted nearly $2.6 million from various Chinese companies, including Huawei, over the past six years. 

Texas A&M University accepted $10 million from CCP-controlled Qingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and Technology.

Texas A&M was also the home of Zhengdong Cheng — a former professor who provided false information to the university and to NASA. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, he gained “increased access to unique NASA resources, such as the International Space Station,” which he used to gain better positioning at Guangdong and other Chinese universities. 

In August, Cheng was arrested for alleged conspiracy, false statements, and wire fraud

[RELATED: Texas A&M prof, NASA researcher arrested for alleged China ties]

The next month, a former employee of Los Alamos National Laboratory — which is co-owned by Texas A&M — was sentenced after failing to disclose ties to China.

[RELATED: Former employee of university-connected lab sentenced over ties to China]

Texas A&M is not the only research university to accept a Chinese government grant and experience serious threats to trade secret security.

A former researcher at the University of Kansas — which accepted a $175,967 contract from an undisclosed Chinese government source — was charged in January for alleged involvement in a scheme to transfer intellectual property from American universities to Chinese universities.

[RELATED: UKansas professor indicted for working for Communist Party of China]

In addition to research partnerships, many universities — including the College of William and Mary, Emory University, and West Virginia University — accepted funds for Confucius Institute programs.

Campus Reform has reported for years that the Chinese Communist Party utilizes Confucius Institutes as propaganda arms, as disclosed by the party’s former propaganda minister and multiple American intelligence sources.

[RELATED: Confucius Institutes a 'smoke screen' for Chinese Communist Party 'propaganda,' Cabot Phillips says]

Emory University alone received a donation from the Confucius Institute of nearly $2.3 million dollars running from 2011 to 2021 for “direct and indirect funds and teaching resources.” 

West Virginia University received a combined $168,000 for Confucius Institute programs.

As with the research universities, both schools employed professors who were charged with failing to disclose links to China.

Former West Virginia University physics professor James Lewis pleaded guilty in March for failing to disclose employment with China’s Thousand Talents Program, which seeks to attract scientific talent to advance the nation’s interests.

Xiao-Jiang Li, a former professor at Emory, likewise failed to disclose his association with the Thousand Talents Program, as well as $500,000 of income from Chinese sources.

[RELATED: Emory prof admits to Chinese spy ring involvement]

Campus Reform reached out to the universities mentioned in this article for comment; this article will be updated accordingly.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft