American children are being indoctrinated into approving of communism via a Chinese educational institute that operates in some American schools, according to a top U.S. senator’s warnings this week.
“What we see from the Chinese Communist Party is they found a loophole,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Republican from Tennessee. “They looked at this as a part of their soft power and a way to push their propaganda.”
Known as Confucius classrooms, the program features lessons supported by Beijing’s Confucius Institute and is used in a number of U.S. elementary and high schools. The lessons include the Mandarin language and Chinese culture, but critics say they censor the truth, Fox News reported.
The program excludes the deadly 1989 Tiananmen Square protest, during which the Chinese government killed protesters who demanded democracy, and also teaches that Taiwan, an independent nation, is part of China.
Initially used on college campuses, some institutes were shut down and kicked out after being accused of spreading Chinese propaganda. Former President Trump’s administration viewed the institutes as problematic, and sanctioned them late last year.
Blackburn is ramping up efforts to “end these Confucius Institutes and classrooms in the United States.
“What has happened is the Chinese Communist Party uses these institutes to push their propaganda. They say and claim that this is all for language and cultural education,” said Blackburn, who was sanctioned by the Chinese government last month as a result of her efforts. “But what they have admitted is this is a part of their soft power and their propaganda.”
“They want to make certain that they are causing children today to be more friendly to the socialist Marxist ideas that they espouse in the Chinese Communist party, and that these children will grow up being more friendly and accepting of Chinese Communist party propaganda or of Chinese culture,” Blackburn continued.
According to the State Department, roughly 500 Confucius classrooms are currently operating in the United States.
Rachelle Peterson, Senior Research Fellow at the National Association of Scholars, said, “It’s deeply alarming to see the propaganda being taught to American students, but it’s even more alarming to see the way that the institutions that students depend on their schools, their teachers, their principals, administrators, how these institutions and these leaders are being molded and shaped to accept the Chinese government’s incursions and even to promote them in the name of globalism and intercultural communication.”
China has fought back against criticism of Confucius programs, saying that it’s part of an effort to reach young people to teach Chinese culture and language. One spokesperson from the Chinese embassy said the assertions were “unfortunate … politicized lies.”
“The Confucius Institutes or classrooms are open and transparent and come in strict compliance with laws and regulations of the host institutions. Confucius Institutes and classrooms have been proved to be a bridge connecting the US and China in educational and cultural exchanges,” a Chinese embassy spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News.
Blackburn said the goal is to pass legislation prohibiting the institutes from running programs in American elementary and high schools, in addition to college campuses.
“It’s important that we separate the Chinese people from the actions of the Chinese Communist party, and as we know that they have pushed forward with trying to expand these institutes and we know they’re very frustrated with us, that now we’re requiring transparency,” Blackburn said.