The Small Business Administration (SBA) last year gave coronavirus relief money to the Confucius Institute, a Chinese Communist Party front group that functions as a propaganda arm for the brutal regime at American colleges.
The $4,000 payment, doled out on June 29, 2020, came under former President Trump's administration, using money from the CARES Act, the sprawling $2.2 trillion relief package that was hastily passed in March of last year. It was an economic injury disaster loan emergency advance, which means the payment was eligible for forgiveness.
"When the government is spending more cash than they know how to handle, you end up with some of it going to Communist China," Adam Guillette, the president of the right-leaning nonprofit Accuracy in Media (AIM), told Fox News.
AIM spotted the payment, which is publicly available to view on USASpending.gov.
"And when the mainstream media serves as a PR team for the folks who made the mistake, you never hear a peep about it," Guillette added.
SBA spokesperson Shannon Giles, who initially declined to comment, denied after the story was published that the Confucius Institutes got funding from the SBA. She claimed the application was withdrawn by the organization.
Confucius Institutes, which present themselves as a cultural exchange where students learn the Chinese language, are part of the Chinese Ministry of Education, according to a National Association of Scholars (NAS) report on their influence in American schools.
According to a 2018 Politico report, Chinese Politburo member Li Changchun called Confucius Institutes an "important part of China’s overseas propaganda set-up."
The NAS report detailed many problems with Confucius Institutes on college campuses. They included the culture of self-censorship around issues seen as critical of the Chinese government; shady contracts that the institutes impose on colleges; influence the institutes gain with administrators and complete control the CCP maintains over the institutes.
"Confucius Institutes function as an arm of the Chinese state and are allowed to ignore academic freedom. Their academic activities are under the supervision of Hanban, a Chinese state agency which is chaired by a member of the Politburo and the vice-premier of the People’s Republic of China," the American Association of University Professors said.
"Most agreements establishing Confucius Institutes feature nondisclosure clauses and unacceptable concessions to the political aims and practices of the government of China," the association added. "Specifically, North American universities permit Confucius Institutes to advance a state agenda in the recruitment and control of academic staff, in the choice of curriculum, and in the restriction of debate."
U.S. legislators have condemned Confucius Institutes at American universities and federal law enforcement has warned that their presence is a threat to U.S. interests. The Senate unanimously passed a bill earlier this year which would ban institutions hosting Confucius Institutes from getting federal funds.
"Confucius Institutes are under the control of the Chinese Communist Party in all but name. They are propaganda centers that threaten academic liberty and free speech without shame, and too many American schools are falling victim to the political con every day," Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., said of the bill, which he sponsored.