Mo Brooks directly asks Troy University, Alabama A&M to close their Confucius Institutes
Congressman Mo Brooks (AL-05) on Thursday sent a letter to the respective leaders of Alabama A&M University and Troy University urging them to shutter the Confucius Institute on each campus.
The letter was sent to Alabama A&M’s president, Dr. Andrew Hugine, and the Chancellor of Troy, Dr. Jack Hawkins, asking a list of 15 questions about the operation of the two Confucius Institutes. The letter requested responses from Hugine and Hawkins by October 17.
Brooks’ letter said, “Confucius Institutes hurt the integrity of our higher education system, threaten national security, and unnecessarily risk taxpayer funded research at your schools.”
The letter copied Governor Kay Ivey, Lt. Governor Will Ainsworth, Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh (R-Anniston) and Speaker of the House Mac McCutcheon (R-Monrovia). Brooks had recently called on Alabama leaders to step in and shut down the Confucius Institutes in the state.
State Rep. Tommy Hanes (R-Bryant) unveiled a bill earlier this year that would ban Confucius Institutes from operating on publicly-funded college campuses in Alabama. Troy and Alabama A&M are the only such institutions currently home to a Confucius Institute.
Brooks added in a statement, “Troy University and Alabama A&M University have questions to answer about their partnerships with the Chinese Communist Party. Forty-five patriotic American universities from thirty different states have shut down their Confucius Institutes since 2014. Communist China is America’s geopolitical foe, not our friend.”
“Communist China’s lies about COVID19’s severity and contagious nature have contributed to the deaths of more than 200,000 Americans. Communist China’s use of slave labor should be an anathema to both Alabama A&M and Troy,” he continued. “The Communist Chinese Party cannot be allowed to gain influence over America’s education system or undermine American national security. Alabama A&M and Troy must wise up and stop aiding and abetting the Communist Chinese Party’s dangerous espionage and propaganda on American soil. They can do that by immediately closing their Confucius Institutes.”
The congressman concluded, “Confucius Institutes are nothing more than Communist Chinese Party propaganda and spying units. The American Association of University Professors has decried the threat Communist China poses to academic freedom and the Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division has warned of Communist China’s efforts to conduct espionage through Confucius Institutes. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a ‘foreign mission,’ saying ‘Confucius Institutes are funded by the [People’s Republic of China] and part of the Chinese Communist Party’s global influence and propaganda apparatus.’ The evidence against Communist China is overwhelming.”
Read the full letter here.
In response to a request for comment from Yellowhammer News, a spokesperson for Alabama A&M on Thursday said that they had not received Brooks’ letter and therefore had no comment. Yellowhammer News then provided the university with a copy of the letter but did not hear back afterwards.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Troy University did respond to Yellowhammer News in a statement.
“We have received the letter from Congressman Brooks and are working with his office to address his questions and concerns. As Alabama’s ‘International University,’ Troy University’s experience with the Confucius Institute has been one of mutual benefit,” said Andy Ellis, director of communications for Troy University.
“The Confucius Institute at Troy University has afforded our students and our state with an opportunity for exposure to Chinese language, history and culture, and it has promoted stronger business ties between Alabama and Chinese companies,” the spokesperson continued. “Troy University’s association with the Confucius Institute has been positive, and we have seen no evidence of undue political influence from the Chinese government nor has there been any evidence of intellectual theft.”
Ellis concluded, “Troy University is proud to be a patriotic institution with a long history of service to the military and veterans. Many of TROY’s faculty, staff and senior administrators are veterans with distinguished records, and a large percentage of the student body is military or military-connected. We also believe that cooperation between the United States and China is a desirable goal, and the dialogue and relationships developed through the Confucius Institute strengthen the ties between our two countries.”
Sean Ross is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn