Today, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee reintroduced the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft Act (SHEET), a bill to counter Chinese espionage efforts and influence operations in American universities.
“Thirty years ago, the world watched in horror as tens of thousands of Chinese soldiers mowed down protestors who had assembled in Tiananmen Square to demand freedom from the tyranny of Communism,” Sen. Cruz said. “That tyranny lives on today in forms as open as political violence and as insidious as mass ubiquitous surveillance. Today we remember the bravery of Chinese dissidents all around the world. We must stand with the brave men and women who continue to fight for liberty in China, both to honor the legacy of those who died in the fight and to elevate the cause of those who continue the battle today. As we remember their courage, the U.S. must remain steadfast in protecting our own people. The Communist Party is infiltrating American society to censor free speech and steal sensitive research. Groups like Confucius Institutes, China Student Scholars Association, and the Thousand Talents program threaten the integrity of our universities and research. We must counter these efforts, and I am proud to reintroduce the SHEET Act.”
Congressman Rooney stated, “We must stop foreign intelligence from using college exchange programs to steal technology, recruit agents and spread propaganda. Geopolitical adversaries, including China, are infiltrating our universities and stealing intellectual property. Centers like the Confucius Institutes, backed by the Chinese Communist Party, must be held accountable for their malign activities.”
Sen. Cruz has led a series of efforts against Chinese influence and espionage operations targeting American higher education, having secured a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 prohibiting the Department of Defense from funding Confucius Institutes used by the Chinese Communist Party to infiltrate American universities for influence and espionage operations.