Stefanik, Cruz Introduce Bill to Counter Chinese Espionage Efforts in American Universities

March 10, 2021
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik reintroduced the Stop Higher Education Espionage and Theft (SHEET) Act. This bill would counter espionage and influence operations at American colleges and universities by allowing the designation and removal of hostile actors that are deemed a foreign intelligence threat to higher education by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It would also require foreign gifts and contracts at institutions of higher education to be disclosed. Congresswoman Stefanik issued the following statement:

“The Chinese Communist Party is actively spreading propaganda and engaging in intellectual property theft and various forms of espionage on American college campuses. This bill would implement simple measures to combat these malign activities, protect the integrity of our academic institutions, and safeguard the national security of the United States.”

“As I have repeatedly said, China is the single greatest geopolitical threat facing the United States and a profoundly malign influence in our universities,” Senator Cruz said. “The SHEET Act advances U.S. security by countering the espionage and propaganda targeting American higher education. I remain committed to fundamentally reassessing the U.S.-China relationship and holding China accountable for their widespread espionage, censorship, and human rights violations.”

Representative Vicky Hartzler (MO-4), who helped cosponsor the bill in the House, added, “For too long, bad actors within the Chinese government have used America’s higher education institutions as a means to spy, steal, and exploit our nation’s valuable research and secrets. By cracking down on foreign influence through the SHEET Act, our country will be better equipped to protect our critical academic interests here at home. I applaud Rep. Elise Stefanik and Sen. Ted Cruz for introducing legislation to combat Chinese espionage in our schools and research facilities.”

Congresswoman Stefanik recently cosponsored similar legislation, the End College Chinese Communist Partnerships Act, that would block taxpayer funds from going to American colleges and universities with Confucius Institute partnerships. In her ongoing effort to combat China, she also recently supported the Opposing Business with Chinese Military Companies Act to ensure companies affiliated with or operating on behalf of the Chinese military are made public and sanctioned, as required by law.