House Republicans demand probe into Chinese investment in American colleges

In addition to blaming China for the Covid-19 pandemic, Republicans in Congress want to start a probe into Beijing’s investment in US universities, insisting that China is attempting to “steal” ideas.

“Besides China peddling money for influence in US institutions of higher education, China is restricting any research regarding the origins of Covid-19 that does not comport with [Chinese Communist Party] propaganda,” read a letter sent on Monday to Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, calling for an investigation. “To nations battling peak pandemic outbreaks, the CCP’s machinations undoubtedly hamper the global response to the pandemic.”

The letter was organized by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, and signed by other Republican ranking members, from Devin Nunes (Intelligence) and Michael McCaul (Foreign Affairs) to Mac Thornberry (Armed Services) and Mike Rogers (Homeland Security). It was not signed by Democrats who have the majority in the House and chair the committees.

The House Republicans claim that, through investments, the Chinese Communist Party has been seeking to turn American universities into “vehicles through which to advance Chinese Communist Party propaganda.” 

The FBI has issued warnings in the past about other countries, namely China, investing in American higher education to steal sensitive information, mainly through people gaining access to it through certain federal grants.

The Department of Justice also arrested a professor at Harvard and two Chinese nationals for reportedly acting as foreign agents in various capacities to help the People’s Republic of China in January. 

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Republicans’ rhetoric in regards to China have become quite heated in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. 

In addition to President Donald Trump’s own words about China’s responsibility for the current pandemic, Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas) and Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) introduced last month the idea of allowing American citizens to be able to actually sue China for the “damages they caused” from Covid-19.

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Cotton has also suggested the US should stop giving visas to Chinese students if they are seeking to study anything to do with science. 

“If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America,” Cotton told Fox News. “They don’t need to learn quantum computing.”

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