Two Republican senators on Tuesday blasted President Joe Biden for withdrawing a proposed rule that would require U.S. schools to disclose their partnerships with Confucius Institutes, which some U.S. officials and lawmakers have alleged serve as front groups for the Chinese Communist Party.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, both known as China hawks, criticized Biden on Tuesday following reports that the administration had withdrawn the rule, which the Trump administration proposed to the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on Dec. 31.
A spokesperson for ICE confirmed to The Daily Caller News Foundation that the rule had been withdrawn from consideration. The spokesperson did not elaborate on the decision, but Biden has pledged to roll back many of President Trump’s immigration policies.
“Confucius Institutes are front groups for the Chinese Communist Party on American campuses,” Cotton said in a statement.
He said that the federal government should shut down the “regime-run institutes,” or “at a minimum, require colleges to disclose their secret agreements with them.”
“Instead, the Biden administration is allowing a foreign influence operation to continue in the shadows,”
Rubio said that the FBI has warned that the Chinese Communist Party uses Confucius Institutes to “infiltrate American schools.”
“But now Biden quietly withdrawn rule proposed by Trump admin to require schools & universities to disclose their partnerships with these agents of Chinese govt [sic] influence,” wrote Rubio, who serves as vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
But now Biden quietly withdrawn rule proposed by Trump admin to require schools & universities to disclose their partnerships with these agents of Chinese govt influence
— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) February 9, 2021
Around 500 K-12 schools and 65 colleges in the U.S. have partnerships with the Confucius Institute U.S. Center (CIUS), which supports cultural exchange and language programs for American students. CIUS is an affiliate of the Beijing-based Confucius Institute Headquarters, also known as Hanban, which itself is affiliated with the Chinese Ministry of Education.
In August, the Trump administration labeled CIUS a “foreign mission” of China, the same designation used for foreign consulates and embassies.
Then-Sec. of State Mike Pompeo asserted that the Confucius Institute was “an entity controlled by the PRC that advances Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign on U.S. campuses and K-12 classrooms.”
CIUS did not respond to a request for comment.