Report: Columbia University did not disclose at least $1 million in funding from Chinese government

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NEW YORK CITY, NY – Officials at Columbia University have failed to report at least $1 million in contributions from China directed toward funding a Confucius Institute, an influential propaganda arm for that country.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, a Chinese state media report shows that Hanban, or the Confucius Institute Headquarters in China, donated the money to Columbia between 2010 and 2015 in order to establish a Confucius Institute there.

Some portion of the funds reportedly went toward bringing one of China’s propaganda advisers, Professor Wei Dedong, to direct Columbia’s Confucius Institute beginning in 2016.  Wei has been in charge of the Institute’s Mandarin instruction and grant programs for Columbia students.

Also, according to the Free Beacon, Wei is a “special adviser to the religious-affairs division of the United Front Work Department (UFWD), the Chinese government’s premier influence and propaganda-pedaling (sic) operation.”

In addition, the Free Beacon reports:

“The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a bipartisan congressional body, concluded that the UFWD ‘conduct[s] influence operations targeting foreign actors and states’ to sway them toward China.”

Such potential influence on the minds of young Americans is chilling to reflect upon, and it becomes even more so when one considers that there are reportedly more than 75 Confucius Institutes in the United States. Most are in colleges, including Stanford University, Colorado State University, the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Temple University.

According to Chinese government official Li Changchun in 2009, Confucius Institutes are “an important part of China’s overseas propaganda setup.”

Li also said in a 2011 speech:

“The Confucius Institute is an appealing brand for expanding our culture abroad.”

Li went on to say:

“It has made an important contribution toward improving our soft power. The ‘Confucius’ brand has a natural attractiveness. 

“Using the excuse of teaching Chinese language, everything looks reasonable and logical.”

Echoing Li’s words, Xu Lin, the Chief Executive of the Confucius Institute Headquarters and Director-General of Hanban, was featured in a speech to a Chinese audience in the Clarion Project’s 2020 “Covert Cash” documentary on foreign influence on colleges.  

She announced:

“Confucius Institutes are an important part of our soft power.

“We want to expand China’s influence.”

Also, Chinese minister of propaganda Liu Yunshan declared in 2010:

“With regard to key issues that influence our sovereignty and safety, we should actively carry out international propaganda battles against issuers such as Tibet, Xinjiang, Taiwan, human rights and Falun Gong…. 

“We should do well in establishing and operating overseas cultural centers and Confucius Institutes.” 

Dr. Ben Freeman, Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative, told the Clarion Project in “Covert Cash”:

They are trying to influence the minds of the next generation of congressmen, the next generation of lobbyists, the next generation of media, PR professionals, you name it.”

Freeman went on to say:

“They eliminate certain information from classrooms, for example like the Tiananmen Square massacre, and the Hong Kong protests.

“They are changing the way that our students learn about China.”

A report by Politico noted that:

“Confucius Institutes teach a very particular, Beijing-approved version of Chinese culture and history: one that ignores concerns over human rights, for example, and teaches that Taiwan and Tibet indisputably belong to Mainland China.”

As he encouraged Florida schools in 2018 to cut ties with Confucius Institutes, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) told the Washington Free Beacon:

“Beijing is becoming increasingly aggressive in its aim to exploit America’s academic freedom to instill in the minds of future leaders a pro-China viewpoint.”

He added:

”Confucius Institutes across the country and my home state of Florida have given China’s communist regime an avenue to covertly influence public opinion and teach half-truths designed to present Chinese history, government or official policy in the most favorable light.”

As for financial contributions to American colleges from China, those are not limited to a “mere” million dollars here and there.  Since 2012, Clarion reports, China has donated $1.2 billion to American universities — that we know of.

Ryan Mauro, Director of the Clarion Intelligence Network, noted:

“The countries that are donating the most money to American schools are countries with terrible human rights records.”

Mauro added:

“Most of the money is not declared by the schools.”

The influence of Confucius Institutes has not escaped the notice of federal authorities in the U.S.

According to the Clarion Project, following a 2019 investigation into China’s reach into the halls of U.S. education, the Department of Education wrote a letter to Rob Portman of the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee detailing its findings.

The letter read, in part:

“One university had multiple contracts with the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the People’s Republic of China.”

The Department of Education also reported that its investigation uncovered $6 billion in gifts to colleges from countries like China, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia. 

In 2018, the CIA investigated funding of American universities by the Chinese Communist Party.

The CIA’s report warned:

The CCP provides ‘strings-attached’ funding to academic institutions and think tanks to deter research that casts it in a negative light.”

The report went on to say:

“It has used this tactic to reward pro-China viewpoints and coerce Western academic publications and conferences to self-censor. 

“The CCP often denies visas to academics who criticize the regime, encouraging many China scholars to preemptively self-censor so they can maintain access to the country on which their research depends.

The FBI has also investigated Confucius Institutes, focusing not only on the influence of information shared, but also on the potential for espionage, especially at universities that host both Confucius Institutes and top-secret Pentagon research, including Stanford and Auburn.

FBI Director Christopher Wray spoke in 2018 at a congressional hearing about China’s potential for obtaining American R&D in an academic environment prone to sharing of information.

He said:

“The level of naïveté on the part of the academic sector about this creates its own issues. 

“They’re exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere. 

“But they’re taking advantage of it.”

Federal involvement has definitely influenced the closure of some Confucius Institutes.  The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, for example, forced schools to close those institutes if they wished to receive language funding from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Since 2014, 12 Confucius Institutes closed while citing the NDAA as the reason for closure.

In addition, according to the Free Beacon, bipartisan pressure has resulted in 22 universities ceasing operations of their respective Confucius Institutes in 2020 alone.

Also, the Trump administration has designated the Confucius Institute a “foreign mission,” meaning that the U.S. government finds that the Institute is directly controlled by a foreign power, which may influence some universities to cut ties.

Still, some schools, like Columbia University, remain steadfast in maintaining relationships with the Chinese Communist Party via partnership in their respective Confucius Institutes, apparently concealing significant Chinese funding while doing so.

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Chinese sociologist claims China will overtake the US and effectively ‘put an end to it’

December 2, 2020

SHENZHEN, CHINA – MEMRI TV, a research organization that normally tracks Islamic extremism and anti-Semitism around the world, reported that Dr. Li Yi, a Chinese sociologist, stated that it is only a matter of time before China overtakes the United States and effectively puts an end to it.

MEMRI, a media source that according to their website, “bridges the cap between the West and the Middle East,” reported:

“Chinese sociologist Dr. Li Yi said in an October 16, 2020 speech delivered at the Shenzhenwan Dialogue Forum in Shenzhen, China that China would overtake the United States in GDP by 2027, and that COVID-19 has been harmful to the U.S. and Europe but beneficial to China and North Korea.

“Dr. Yi holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Illinois and according to his LinkedIn account, he is a full-time professor at Renmin University in China. Following Dr. Yi’s October 16 speech, Renmin University issued a statement denying his employment at the university.”

Dr. Yi made more daring claims, as reported on Twitter:

“We Are Driving America to Its Death; COVID-19 Has Been Beneficial for China, North Korea; There Will Be No U.S.-China War, But We Will Take Over Taiwan.”

Dr. Li Yi made a series of inflammatory statements during his speech:

“It turns out that China is going to overtake the United States in 2027. It was said that this might be delayed for a year or two, but this year, God has pulled off a little trick, right? God created COVID-19 and spread it to every country in the world.

“COVID-19 is bad for Europe and America, but it is beneficial for North Korea and China.

“We still have 4,000 dead, right? But if 4,000 (Chinese) die versus 220,000 in the United States, we haven’t really lost a single person, have we? We’re close to zero infections and zero deaths. If 4,000 people out of 1.4 billion die, that’s the same as no one getting sick and no one dying.

“In the global economy, China stands out. We are ahead of schedule in terms of overtaking the United States. There will be no problem reaching this goal in 2027. The U.S. will not survive.

“As long as 1.4 billion Chinese people eat, sleep, defecate, and urinate every day, as long as we go to work every day, we will drive the U.S. to its death.”

United States and British sources have disputed Dr. Li Yi’s claims about China and North Korea.

In a report filed by The New York Post, North Korea and Kim Jong Un reacted harshly, especially considering Dr. Yi’s modest statements:

“North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un executed two people, closed the country’s capital, and banned fishing at sea in a frantic attempt to prevent the spread of coronavirus, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers Friday. 

“The tyrant has been lashing out with ‘excessive anger’ and taking ‘irrational measures’ in recent weeks as a result of the pandemic, according to Ha Tae-keung, an official who was briefed by National Intelligence Service.”

The Daily Wire reported:

“North Korea is so isolated from the rest of the world and is so underdeveloped that a report last year from the prestigious Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health ranked the nation 193 out of 195 nations in terms of being prepared to face a pandemic.

“Kim spoke at an alleged military parade last month where he claimed that North Korea had not had a single coronavirus victim.”

CNN reported with similar skepticism:

“Few experts believe that North Korea, a country of nearly 25 million people, which shares a border with China, could have escaped the effects of a pandemic that has infected more than 36 million people worldwide, and killed more than 1 million people.”

Others are skeptical towards China’s continued success:

“And it only took them thousands of years, 5 times the population, and considerable theft & dishonesty to overtake a civilization made wholesale out of a vast wilderness less than 300 years ago.”

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