"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice;
But when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
Holy late afternoon on a holiday document dump Batman:
After months of internal uproar and a letter from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz, the University of Texas at Austin has declared its China center will not accept funding from a Hong Kong-based foundation that the Republican from Texas said helps spread Chinese government propaganda abroad.Seriously, do read the whole thing here.
The decision – first reported in an article in the “Opinions” section of The Washington Post – was disclosed in a letter sent Friday from UT-Austin President Greg Fenves to Cruz.
The school must "ensure that the receipt of outside funding does not create potential conflicts of interest or place limits on academic freedom and the robust exchange of ideas,” Fenves wrote. “I am concerned about this if we were to accept funding from [the foundation].”
The week before, Cruz had written to Fenves to “express concern” about UT-Austin's new China center's relationship with the China-United States Exchange Foundation – a “pseudo-philanthropic foundation,” Cruz wrote, that has ties to an arm of the Chinese government that manages “foreign influence operations.”
In his letter, dated Jan. 2, Cruz wrote he’d heard that the UT-Austin center was considering a partnership with the foundation. Launched around the start of the fall semester, the China Public Policy Center was charged with making “fresh and enduring contributions to the study of China-related policy topics while advancing U.S.-China relations and Texas-China relations,” according to a UT news release.
Its executive director, David Firestein, was formerly a U.S. diplomat and senior vice president at the EastWest Institute. He did not respond to requests for comment made by phone and email.
Cruz said in his letter that he was worried about the center's collaboration with the foundation and that it would disseminate “propaganda within the center and compromise its credibility.” The same concerns were raised in emails circulated on an internal UT-Austin faculty e-mail list in December, just four months after the China center launched.
Bottom Line: In their neverending financial avarice, the University of Texas was initially willing to accept money to spread propaganda for the Chinese government. They were only thwarted by an attentive United States Senator. On a semi related note: Yes, this is the same University of Texas that wants to manage the nation's nuclear weapons....