GOP Lawmakers Want University to Discontinue China-Linked Program

( – Republican lawmakers have sounded alarm bells for many years about the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) influence in American colleges and universities. The latest to face scrutiny is the Max Baucus Institute’s study-abroad program, which plans to send students to study in China in 2024. Baucus is a former United States Senator for Montana and worked in the Obama administration as the Ambassador to China for three years. He and his wife founded the institute in 2017, which is located at the University of Montana’s School of Law.

The House Select Committee on the CCP Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., along with two Montana representatives, took aim at the University of Montana (UMT) for going along with the institute’s partnership with the China-United States Exchange Foundation (CUSEF). The work of the CCP-affiliated organization is key to advancing the CCP’s interests in the United States. The lawmakers sent a letter to the university’s President, Seth Bodnar, pointing out that it is “not a benign entity interested in the objective education” of students in Montana. The letter advised Bodnar to “terminate any ties with CUSEF” and to take extra precautions when considering partnerships with foreign organizations in the future. CUSEF lobbyists in Washington D.C. have been required to register as foreign agents many times over the last several years.

Bodnar responded to the letter in an email, claiming that the program was lawful, reasoning that it would advance America’s competitiveness around the world. One of the two Tsinghua University in China is also hosting the summer program, and its ties to the CCP are well-documented.

The second program, which is hosted by both the Max S. Baucus Institute and a Chinese college called Hangzhou Wanxiang Polytechnic, will last for four weeks. Students selected for the program will pay close to nothing for expenses related to the stay, including travel expenses, housing, and food.

CUSEF has been the central focus of journalists working to expose the CCP’s methods of influence in the United States.

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