On Sunday, Fox News host, Steve Hilton, blasted former Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon and Arizona State University’s partnership with the Confucius Institute.
While ASU and the University of Arizona have snuggled up to Chinese government entities and the attached funding, Congress included provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act passed last week that target Chinese tech giants Huawei and ZTE, and Chinese meddling in democracies through the Beijing-funded Confucius Institutes.
Hilton, host of The Next Revolution, called out Salmon, who is now a lobbyist for ASU.
Hilton referred to Salmon as the “organ grinder,” who “chaired the Asia and Pacific Subcommittee, of the House Foreign Relations Committee, before leaving to Arizona State University. It’s home to the Confucius Institute – funded by China to push its agenda on America.”
As ASU continues to pursue a deeper relationship with China and its universities, running into Sun Devil families across the Pacific might become commonplace.
Over the past decade, the ASU-China ties have strengthened. More than 10,000 international graduate and undergraduate students attend ASU, with the largest group — about 3,000 undergraduates and 1,000 graduate students — from China. Last year, ASU hosted more than 250 visiting Chinese scholars.
ASU’s relationships with Chinese institutions range from simple student and faculty exchanges to high-level research deals, such as a partnership with Shandong University on “bio-inspired” cancer and vaccine research, water- and air-purification systems and advanced explorations of nanotechnology.
According to Insidehighered.com, in April, “the chancellor of the Texas A&M system said the university would terminate its agreement to host Confucius Institutes — centers for Chinese language teaching and cultural programming funded by the Chinese government — in response to the urging of two congressmen who described the institutes as threats to national security.”
“An increasing number of politicians have in recent months urged American colleges to sever their ties with the Chinese government-backed institutes, but this appears to be the first time a university has explicitly cited a recommendation from elected officials as its reason for terminating a Confucius Institute agreement,” reported Insidehighered.com. “Critics and supporters of the Confucius Institutes alike said they are concerned about external political influence over university decision making.”
U.S. Representatives Henry Cuellar, a Democrat, and Michael McCaul, a Republican sent their letter to four Texas universities that host the institutes.
Salmon defended the Institute in March according to a Chinese website. He said that the
Confucius Institute is collaborating with the U.S. Department of Defense at ASU.
“The Defense Department has invested in the Confucius Institute at ASU as it looks for a pipeline to Mandarin speakers, according to Matt Salmon, former U.S. representative and vice-president for government affairs at ASU,” reported the Chinese news source. “I find it a little bit incredulous that there are those who consider teaching Chinese language and culture as posing a security threat. … If it does pose a security threat, then the DoD has made a big mistake by funding our program.”