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WASHINGTON (LifeSiteNews) – A Republican congresswoman introduced a bill last week that would ban members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and their close family from attending American universities.

Republican U.S. Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri introduced the Protecting Higher Education from the Chinese Communist Party Act last Wednesday. The bill would stop the government from issuing student or research visas to senior CCP officials and their families.

Speaking to NTD’s Capitol Report Program, Hartzler said, “We have to understand that China has a plan for world domination. … It sounds like some Hollywood movie; that’s just the reality.”

Hartzler maintains that some Chinese nationals attending colleges in the United States may have family members that serve in the CCP’s National Congress who are helping to make Chinese policy, noting that Chinese President Xi Jinping’s daughter, Xi Mingze, obtained a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University in Massachusetts in 2014 and re-enrolled in 2019 for graduate studies.

“We shouldn’t be aiding and abetting those who want to do us harm,” Hartzler said. “It’s just wrong.”

She also pointed out the dangers of espionage and intellectual property theft perpetrated by college students on behalf of the CCP, and the human rights abuses committed by the CCP. “While the CCP commits genocide and other atrocities, they continue to sent their children to the United States to receive a world-class education,” Hartzler said in a statement.

Hartzler introduced the bill as China hosted the Winter Olympics, which have been criticized by observers on account of the CCP’s human rights violations.

Espionage, intellectual property, and the soft power of the CCP

In 2019, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) released a pamphlet that described the dangers of espionage and intellectual property theft perpetrated by students and researchers that came from China. The pamphlet, China: Risk to Academia, estimated a loss of $225 billion to $600 billion per year from the theft of trade secrets.

“These Chinese scholars may serve as collectors – wittingly or unwittingly – of economic, scientific, and technological intelligence from [American] institutions to ultimately benefit Chinese academic institutions and business,” the pamphlet read.

William Evanina, former director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, spoke to NBC News the same year, saying, “The economic espionage threat from China is second to none.”

FBI director Christopher Wray shares Evanina’s view, stating in January, “When we tally up what we see in our investigations – over 2,000 of which are focused on the Chinese government trying to steal our information technology – there’s no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, our innovation, and our economic security than China.”

In 2020, the Trump administration blocked visas for Chinese nationals who had ties to the Chinese military in an effort to defend the United States from Chinese espionage. While the Biden administration said last April that it would relax the restrictions, approximately 500 Chinese STEM students were denied visas over security concerns.

In 2018, Foreign Policy released an article that maintained that the CCP influenced Chinese Student Scholars Associations (CSSA) on American campuses through Chinese consulates and embassies, which led to speculation earlier this month that an attack on artwork from Chinese dissident artist Badiucao by George Washington University’s CSSA chapter was directed by the Chinese embassy in Washington.

According to data from the Institute of International Education and the U.S. State Department, there were more than 317,000 Chinese students registered for classes at American colleges for the 2020-21 academic year, comprising about 35% of all international students.