A $717 billion defense spending bill sent by the Senate to President Trump for his signature Wednesday prohibits the use of appropriated funds for Chinese language instruction provided by a Confucius Institute or by a Chinese language program at a college or university that hosts a Confucius Institute.
The bill states that the prohibition can be waived if a defense official certifies that Confucius Institute employees and instructors will have no involvement with the Chinese language program or authority or influence over its curriculum.
Confucius Institutes -- Chinese government-funded centers for language and cultural education that can be found at about 100 U.S. universities -- have come under increasing scrutiny in recent months from Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and other lawmakers. Critics say the institutes spread Chinese Communist Party propaganda and allow an entity of the Chinese government undue control over instruction and curriculum in U.S. universities, while supporters say the institutes are vehicles for cultural and educational exchange and provide much-needed funds for Chinese language instruction.
Trump is expected to sign the defense spending bill into law.