Young people are a prime target for Chinese espionage, especially those in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC). Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) introduced a bipartisan bill prohibiting the the Dept. of Defense from establishing or funding JROTC programs in private schools affiliated with China.
"Our greatest adversary is seeking to influence the next generation of Americans," Rep. Waltz tweets.
"Our greatest adversary is seeking to influence the next generation of Americans. No CCP-owned private school should have a JROTC program. Period."
Our greatest adversary is seeking to influence the next generation of Americans. No CCP-owned private school should have a JROTC program. Period. https://t.co/zAeNRQejwQ
— Rep. Mike Waltz (@michaelgwaltz) February 27, 2023
In his press release, Rep. Waltz also says that "firms with direct ties with the CCP are buying up American private schools," calling it "troublesome."
"Firms with direct ties with the CCP are buying up American private schools. It is troublesome that our government has been supporting some of these schools financially. Our legislation would ensure that the Pentagon will no longer provide funding to these schools."
The Washington Examiner provides more detail regarding Rep. Waltz and Rep. Houlahan's bill, noting that "at least one" private school in the US, the Florida Preparatory Academy; is tied to the Communist Party of China (CCP) and operates a JROTC program, though the number is potentially higher.
Other Chinese firms are described as having invested or purchased private school systems in the United States, such as California.
More notably, the New York Military Academy, attended by former President Donald Trump; was bought by a "Chinese-backed group" in 2015, and its JROTC program was closed down in 2019.
At best, Chinese investment in American education is a means for Chinese parents to get their children in our universities.
Of course, Rep. Waltz warns that it is more likely that "they’re seeking to influence the next generation of Americans, both in their views of the CCP and of democracy, capitalism — you know, basic tenets of our society."
In January, Governor Ron DeSantis (R) similarly spoke with Tucker Carlson on prohibiting Chinese purchases of American farmland, saying "we want no CCP land purchases."
"We want no CCP land purchases. And obviously they're not going to do it directly, they'll have shell companies, so we're going to have to have a system in place to scrutinize this," Gov. DeSantis said.