NAICU Washington Update

FBI and Colleges Hold Meeting on Confucius Institutes

May 08, 2020

In response to Sen. Charles Grassely’s March letter to all institutions of higher education with Confucius Institutes, the FBI held a webinar with institutional leaders to emphasize that while Confucius Institutes serve as language and cultural programs they are also an arm of the Chinese government.  As a result, the FBI considers the Institutes to be subtle agents of propaganda.

During the meeting, the FBI warned schools that increased risk due to COVID-19 circumstances on campuses, such as the expanded use of virtual systems, could make them more susceptible to hacking and that institutions’ loss of revenues could make outside funding from questionable sources attractive.

The FBI also believes that research on coronavirus needs to be highly protected. Finally, the agency encouraged academia to be part of “a national narrative” against disinformation regarding the origins of COVID-19, such as it being a biological weapon developed by the United States.

The FBI continues to strongly encourage institutions (with or without Confucius Institutes) to develop a relationship with their local FBI regional office.

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