China secured $120m in contracts with US universities in 2021, records show

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China-based entities, including the Chinese government, secured $120 million in contracts with US colleges in 2021, federal data shows.

Chinese institutions have struck deals ranging from $105,000 to $31 million with more than two dozen universities, according to a search in the College Foreign Gift and Contract Report database.

Federal records, however, contain minimal details about the arrangements, such as the private Chinese entities involved and contract details.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping salutes during the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games at the National Stadium in Beijing, capital of China, March 13, 2022. (Photo by Xie Huanchi/Xinhua via Getty Images)

China, which has moved closer to higher education in the United States, is making deals to ‘gain influence and spread its propaganda in universities,’ Rep. Virginia Foxx, the leading House Republican, told Fox News. Education and Labor Committee. .

“China’s ultimate goal is to control education,” the North Carolina congresswoman said. “And once you control education, you control a culture.”

The University of Houston announced the largest monetary contract with a Chinese entity last year, records show. Houston signed a nearly $32 million deal with an undisclosed private source.

Chris Stipes, director of media relations at the University of Houston, told Fox News the contract was between Houston and Dalian Maritime University in China. The two schools combined forces to form the International Institute of Dalian Maritime University.

“The institute offers three undergraduate programs in mechanical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering,” Stipes said. “Students graduate from UH and DMU.”

Dalian Maritime University is under the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China. Li Xiaopeng, the head of the agency, is a member of the Chinese Communist Party.

Other universities have reported contracts directly with the Chinese government. The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign has five contracts totaling $26.5 million with the Chinese government.

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Meanwhile, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) reported the third-highest total with operations in China. According to records, the institute carried $14 million worth of contracts with unknown entities based in China, although this money did not come from their government.

The University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign and MIT did not respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment on the contracts.

Foreign contracts and gift statements between international entities and US universities have been lackluster until recently. The online self-declaration system was only opened in June 2020, which makes the total amount of previous contracts unclear.

The Ministry of Education has also discovered $6.5 billion in previously undeclared foreign funds flowing to universities in antagonistic countries, including China and Russia, in 2020. Earlier that year, the Standing Senate Subcommittee on Investigations called foreign money a “black hole” due to colleges’ “systematic” failure to follow the law, according to US News & World Report.

Yet most American parents are unaware that foreign money is prevalent in universities. Nearly 60% of parents did not know that China and other countries are the major funders of colleges, a 2021 survey of the Lawfare project found.

China’s collaborations with universities have garnered increased attention from members of Congress in recent years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.  Xi would be China's most authoritative leader in decades.

Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission. Xi would be China’s most authoritative leader in decades.
(Wang Ye/Xinhua via Getty Images)

The Senate unanimously approved a bill to crack down on Confucius Institutes, or Beijing-funded cultural centers, on campuses last year. The House added a version of this bill to the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021.

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China has also closely monitored dissidents on US campuses, who have faced swift retaliation for speaking out against their authoritarian government, ProPublica reported.

In one case, a Purdue University graduate student posted a message on a dissident website applauding the bravery of students killed in the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre.

His parents called from China in tears and said China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), his civilian spy agency, had tipped them off to his actions. “They told us to have you arrested or we’ll all be in trouble,” her parents told her.

Other Purdue students began harassing him, calling him a CIA agent and saying they would report him to the embassy and MSS.

The student also planned to speak at an event for the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre. Despite his hesitations, he participates in the rehearsals of it.

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The MSS visited his parents and he decided not to speak at the event.

“I think the Zoom rehearsals were known to the Chinese Communist Party,” the official said. student said ProPublica. “I think some of the Chinese students at my school are CCP members. I can tell that they are not just students. They could be spies or informants.”

Fox News’ Ethan Barton produced the accompanying graphic.

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