A group of 57 Republicans on Monday sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding that the Department of Defense enforce a funding ban on Confucius Institutes at American universities.

Led by Republican Study Committee Chairman Jim Banks, R-Ind., and House Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the group highlights efforts by the People’s Republic of China and its foreign outreach organizations to circumvent the funding ban by rebranding existing programs or launching new ones that effectively continue the work of the Confucius Institutes.

“Yet, we have learned that DoD has awarded funding with contractual periods extending beyond October 1, 2023 to some universities, including a number of major state universities, which have replaced their Confucius Institute with a similar program or institute directly or indirectly funded, or materially supported by the PRC government,” they wrote in the letter to Austin.

The Republicans referenced the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act which defined Confucius Institutes as “a cultural institute directly or indirectly funded, or materially supported by the Government of the People’s Republic of China.” They further note that, following the NDAA’s introduction, China swiftly rebranded to avoid falling under the designation.

They then listed a plethora of U.S. universities that have replaced their Confucius Institutes with other partnership programs with the Chinese government and asked Austin if the DoD would classify the substitutes programs as Confucius Institutes.

Moreover, they further pressed Austin as to the actions his department has taken or will take to monitor these entities before the funding ban takes effect in October of 2023.

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