KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Republican U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley is asking two Missouri universities to end their relationships with a program that allows the Chinese government to help teach language classes on American campuses but that critics say poses a threat to national security and academic freedom.
Hawley on Wednesday wrote top leaders at the University of Missouri and Webster University to ask them to cut ties with the Confucius Institute, which he described as a Chinese tool to spread influence and exercise soft power in that nation’s rivalry with the United States.
Officials at both universities said they had no immediate plans to cut ties with the institute. Both said they were not aware of problems like the ones Hawley described occurring on their campuses.