Asking ‘the China Question’

July 10, 2020

WE WOULD LIKE to know more about the thinking at Indiana University and Purdue regarding students from China. Specifically, how it was decided to bring so many of one group of foreign student to campus in the first place.

But nobody is answering what might be called “the China question.”

There is the money, of course. The one million international students currently enrolled at U.S. colleges and universities contributed nearly $41 billion to the economy, says the Association of International Educators.

Students from China, though, are categorically different than students from the other countries with sizable student populations here, namely India, South Korea, Canada, Taiwan and Mexico. According to dissident Chinese, virtually all students from China take an oath to provide any information that the Chinese Communist Party might request. The students would be in violation of the law if they refused or even balked.

If you doubt that such registered informants could become a problem, consider what advantage the Soviet Union would have had during the Cold War had it been able to place 2,000 Russian “students” on each U.S. college campus.

That is the number of students from China enrolled at IU this fall, one-third of its international students. The China count is tucked away on the back channels of the IU web site (if you can find someone to help navigate its twists and turns). Those students pay $80 million annually in tuition, or about half what the university receives in state funds.

Purdue reports about 3,000 student from China on campus this fall, a third of its international students as well. The university has not answered a request for more detail from a member of our foundation, Kent Blacklidge, past publisher of the Kokomo Tribune and the holder of four degrees from Purdue including a doctorate. He is concerned about the integrity of agricultural research.

Meanwhile, IU is rejecting requests from Margaret Menge for emails that might illuminate the university’s thinking on this topic. It is too difficult, IU spokesmen say, unless the university is given the name of both the sender and recipient of a specific email. That is an interpretation, Menge argues, that effectively negates the Access to Public Records Act.

Again, this is a lost opportunity to independently verify how judicious the two universities have been in protecting publicly funded research, not to mention guarding Hoosiers from assorted viruses. Moreover, it would give them a chance to showcase the many programs and classes that introduce, or even inculcate, students from China to the values of Western Civilization, its principles and its constitutional base.

Assuming, of course, they still have professors who teach that sort of stuff. — tcl


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