The University of Texas at Austin has decided to reject funding for its new China Public Policy Center from a Chinese group affiliated with the nation’s Communist Party.
The University of Texas at Austin has rejected funding for its new public policy center focusing on China after learning that the donor is potentially connected to China’s Communist Party. A report from the Washington Post this week suggests that China’s Communist Party may be looking to secure influence within the American education system.
The donation came from the Hong Kong-based China United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The group has ties to China’s Communist Party through its leader, the vice chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), a self-identifying “united front” organization.
In a statement, Senator Marco Rubio expressed concern over the efforts to subvert American public policy. “Chinese efforts to influence our public policy and our basic freedoms are much more widespread than most people realize,” he said.
Ted Cruz also chimed in on the developments, writing a letter to the President of the University of Texas at Austin. He wrote that he is “deeply concerned” with the organization trying to tie itself to the University of Texas on the basis that the group could leverage its influence to disseminate propaganda.
“I am deeply concerned that collaborating with CUSEF, given its affiliation with the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) united front system … would disseminate PRC propaganda within the [China Public Policy] Center and compromise its credibility,” Cruz wrote in the letter, “CUSEF and the united front are the external face of the CCP’s internal authoritarianism.”
University President Gregory Fenves announced last week that he would not be accepting funding from the China United States Exchange Foundation, citing the suspicious nature of the group’s willingness to get involved with the new public policy center.