Lankford Welcomes State Department’s Designation of Confucius Institutes in US as Advancing Communist Chinese Goals

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today applauded the State Department’s action to require the Confucius Institutes to register as a “foreign mission” with the State Department since the Institutes are controlled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The State Department said in part today that the action to designate was to recognize the Confucius Institutes for what they are, “an entity advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on US campuses and K-12 classrooms.”

“Today the Administration took another step to push back against the influence of Communist China and to stand up for our intellectual property, our education system, and our values,” said Lankford. “I am grateful for President Trump, Secretary Pompeo, and the rest of the administration’s ongoing work to combat China’s malign influence here in the US and around the world. American universities should recognize that Confucius Institutes promote the oppression of human rights that Chinese journalists, teachers, and people of faith have endured for years. We should not naively allow Confucius Institutes to operate on US campuses while the people of Hong Kong experience China’s tightening grasp on their freedoms and autonomy. Today’s move by our government shows that when we see something, we say something about communist China’s actions even as they’re trying to keep them quiet.”

Lankford helped introduce the Transparency for Confucius Institutes Act and engaged with Education Secretary DeVos to investigate how China utilizes the Institutes to exert undue influence on the American academic community and beyond. As a commissioner on the Congressional-Executive Commission on China (CECC), Lankford has worked to hold China accountable for its human rights abuses and predatory lending practices. Lankford was also a cosponsor of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which was signed into law by President Trump in 2019. On July 22 Lankford spoke on the Senate floor to urge the nation remain vigilant in holding the CCP accountable.

Lankford has been a leader on the US response to the situation in Hong Kong. Lankford and Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) released the Safeguarding Internet Freedom in Hong Kong Act, which pushes back on China’s aggressive actions to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and freedom by bolstering firewall circumvention infrastructure in Hong Kong. Lankford was joined by former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley on the latest episode of his podcast, The Breakdown with James Lankford, to discuss “Hong Kong, Free Speech, and Cancel Culture.”