Concerns Voiced as Cornell Considering Dual-Degree Program with Chinese University

Concerns Voiced as Cornell Considering Dual-Degree Program with Chinese University

Cornell University’s potential plan to establish a dual-degree program with China’s Peking University has some members of the campus community rightfully concerned.

The College Fix interviewed several Cornell associates who believe the educational institution should not participate in a program with a country with gross human rights violations and espionage against the United States.

Cornell Law School Professor William Jacobson told the College Fix, “A joint degree program with Peking University creates issues of academic and personal freedom not raised by mere exchange programs or visiting students. This would be a degree to which Cornell is lending its name and credibility, and Cornell has an obligation to ensure that academic and personal freedoms are respected.”

The College Fix reports:

The program is being advanced by Alex Susskind, the associate dean of Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Susskind presented the dual-degree program to the Faculty Senate on February 24.

Multiple professors raised concerns about academic freedom and the human rights violations occurring in China, according to the meeting’s minutes.

When asked about academic freedom for Chinese students, Susskind said, “I would prefer not to get involved in talking about these bigger picture political-cultural things.”

…After receiving heavy criticism from some professors, the Feb. 24 vote on the dual-degree program was postponed.

During a Feb 10. Faculty Senate meeting, Susskind was asked by professor Ken Birman how the University could maintain its independence and “freedom of bias and our standards in a situation where a political officer might order a person teaching on our behalf to express — like the Uyghurs question that was just raised, to express an opinion other than what we would want to hear expressed.”

Susskind replied that “China has a slightly different government system than we do.”

A February 24 vote on the dual-degree program was postponed after teachers raised concerns. A vote on the program is now set for March 31.

Biden State Department Nominee Supports Chinese Propaganda Program

A Chinese government program, the Confucius Institute, disseminates pro-Beijing propaganda on American college campuses and has the full support of a top Biden State Department nominee.

Joe Biden’s choice for undersecretary of state for political affairs, Victoria Nuland, praised the Confucius Institute, which is  Chinese government-funded, being integrated at American Universities at a 2012 press conference.

Washington Free Beacon reports:

Nuland, then an Obama administration spokeswoman, praised the campus institutes as a crucial part of “people-to-people exchange” between the two superpowers, dismissing concerns about Chinese ambition.

A reporter asked Nuland if the Obama administration was concerned about “the Confucius Institute’s expansion in the U.S. as the strongest Chinese soft power?”

“No,” Nuland responded. “This [Confucius Institute] is something that we support. It’s part of the people-to-people understanding.”

The Confucius Institute quickly expanded its influence during the Obama era, establishing itself at more than 100 American universities and colleges during its peak in 2017, despite warnings about the Chinese Communist Party’s influence. Several government reports found the Chinese government exercised high degrees of control over campus institutes, barring their instructors from teaching taboo topics such as Tibet or Hong Kong. Frequently, instructors were contractually obligated to follow Chinese law even when teaching on American soil.

Nuland’s sympathetic comments about the Confucius Institute could ruffle feathers in the Senate, which will decide whether to confirm the former diplomat to the third-highest position in the State Department. Republican senators have demanded answers from multiple Biden nominees for China-friendly comments or business deals in the authoritarian country.

Many people are concerned with Biden’s connections to the Communist Country including Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R., Tenn.) who said “Any nominee who has spoken in favor of Confucius Institutes is extremely concerning, we cannot have individuals who are either naïve to—or even sympathize with—the threat that Beijing poses in top national security positions.”

In another press conference from 2011, Nuland said that she welcomed the “rise of a prosperous, successful China. We don’t see China’s rise as a threat, nor do we seek to contain China’s rise.”

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Biden’s Transition Co-Chair Hosted Hunter Biden-Linked Chinese Group at Obama White House

The Chinese Entrepreneur Club (CEC), also referred to as the “richest club” in the People’s Republic of China has years of chummy history with Biden. Emails published this week by Peter Schweizer of Breitbart News and president of the Government Accountability Institute identify a clear role Hunter Biden and his business associate Devon Archer played in getting the Chinese group into the White House, first in 2011.

November of 2011, then-deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Jeff Zients hosted the Chinese group after “a colleague of Archer’s reached out to suggest there was an opportunity to gain ‘outstanding new clients” reports Breitbart. According to the email, Archer was told the CEC group was unable to secure meetings with high-ranking Obama administration officials during their November trip to D.C.

Enter Biden associate, Archer to the rescue. “Although it is unclear exactly what transpired after the emails reached Archer, only nine days later, on November 14, 2011, the CEC had secured its meeting at the Obama White House” according to Breitbart. “Administration records indicate that a delegation of 30 CEC members received a tour of the White House and met with then-Commerce Secretary John Bryson.”

That’s not all. According to members of the Chinese delegation, they also “met privately with Hunter Biden’s father, then-Vice President Joe Biden.” In 2014, Zients was appointed to lead the National Economic Council under Obama’s administration. Zients held the position until the end of Obama’s presidential term in 2017.

At the time of Zients’ meeting with the CEC, then-vice president Joe Biden was “playing a lead role in the Obama administration’s policy towards Beijing” according to Breitbart. Additionally, “just that past May, Biden had taken part in talks between the U.S. and China on how to improve ‘strategic and economic’ relations.”

“Since leaving office, Zients appears to have kept in close contact with the Bidens. In September, Biden appointed him to co-chair the presidential transition task force, which will be responsible for staffing a potential Biden White House” reports Breitbart.


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