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GOP rep demands answers on Chinese Communist Party links to junior military programs at American schools


Daily Caller News Foundation

Republican Rep. Mike Waltz of Florida asked the Pentagon about the extent of military preparation programs at U.S. private schools with financial connections to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in a letter Tuesday.

Chinese companies and subsidiaries have been investing in private schools across the country, including those that host Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) programs intended to prepare high schoolers for future military service, Waltz, who serves as ranking member of the Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on readiness, said in the letter. The representative asked the Department of Defense (DOD) to conduct a survey of all junior military programs to identify instances of foreign funding.

“It’s incredibly concerning that there are American private schools owned by companies with strong ties to the Chinese Communist Party,” Waltz said in the statement. “From Florida to New York, there is clear evidence that the ownership of these schools are linked to our greatest adversary and it’s ridiculous that we are developing potential future military leaders through JROTC programs where the CCP could be shaping school curriculum and activities.”

The Florida Preparatory Academy in Melbourne, Florida, operates an Air Force JROTC program, the website shows. Newopen, USA, a subsidiary of China’s Chongquing-based Newopen Education Group, bought the school in 2017 and expressed intention to expand the institution’s science, technology, engineering, arts and math curriculum offerings and faculty, according to Florida Today.

Newopen Group’s chairman, Zhou Dengguang, participates in the CCP-sponsored Chinese Entrepreneurs Association and has advised its secretary general on national strategic development and resource cooperation, Waltz said in the statement.

Newopen planned to expand its network of schools across the country, Florida Today reported. The Florida Prep is adjacent to the state’s advanced space technology hub.

Another JROTC school with CCP funding links is the New York Military Academy, which was sold to Chinese investors after going bankrupt in 2015, Reuters reported. The Research Center on Natural Conservation, backed by China’s SouFun Holdings Ltd., also known as Fang Holdings, spent $15.83 million on the school.

Fang’s former CEO and current largest shareholder, Mo Tianquan, is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and the vice chairman of the Center for China and Globalization (CCG), according to a Daily Caller News Foundation translation of Chinese language media. The U.S. China Security and Economic Review Commission, Congress’ designated China watchdog, identified CCG as a mechanism of China’s foreign influence apparatus, the United Front Work Group, in 2018 despite the organization’s claim to autonomy. 

Allowing the CCP to have direct influence over the curriculum and students at those schools could present a serious national security risk, Waltz warned.

“With the ongoing military recruitment crisis, I am concerned that any students we recruit into the service from these CCP-influenced schools will have a sympathetic view of China’s political and strategic aims,” he continued.

The Pentagon, Florida Prep and NYMA did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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