The center coordinates language and cultural programs for the Confucius Institutes, Chinese government-funded centers for language education and cultural programming, at colleges across the United States.
The United States announced Thursday that it would require the center that runs the Confucius Institute to register as a foreign mission of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, alleging the group's Chinese language courses are part of a widespread campaign of influence and propaganda in the U.S.
Confucius Institutes, which bill themselves as language and culture programs, have drawn intensified scrutiny in recent months over their role in spreading propaganda and suppressing free speech at US educational institutions.
According to Human Rights Watch, at least 29 US universities have closed Confucius Institutes in the past six years.
Pompeo said the Confucius Institute is "an entity advancing Beijing's global propaganda and malign influence campaign" on USA campuses and classrooms.
"We are having discussions and we're emphasizing to them that they need to address our fundamental concerns, and we will take steps if they do not", Stilwell said.
The United States and China have delayed a review of their Phase 1 trade deal initially slated for Saturday, sources familiar with the plans told Reuters, citing scheduling conflicts and the need to allow time for more Chinese purchases of USA exports.
U.S. oil traders, shipbrokers and Chinese importers also told Reuters that Chinese state-owned oil firms have tentatively booked tankers to carry at least 20 million barrels of USA crude for August and September, indicating a ramp-up in energy purchases.
The action tracks with earlier decisions to add Chinese media outlets to the list of organizations that should be considered foreign missions due to their ties to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.
The move comes amid rapidly straining ties between the two countries as Washington has repeatedly condemned Beijing for its human rights record concerning Hong Kong and its Muslim minority Uyghur population in Xinjiang while rejecting its claims to South China Sea.
This latest move by the State Department reflects another way in which an increasingly adversarial and competitive relationship between the USA and China has affected academic exchange. "The United States wants to ensure that students on US campuses have access to Chinese language and cultural offerings free from the manipulation of the Chinese Communist Party and its proxies".
Beijing's influence on USA campuses: The influence of the Chinese government and impact of Chinese Communist Party ideology on Confucius Institute programming has always been a cause for concern on US campuses, as has the governing arrangements of individual Confucius Institutes which often lack transparency.
Rachelle Peterson, a senior research fellow at NAS, said the department's action rightly recognizes Confucius Institutes as "central nodes of the CCP's overseas propaganda network", and shines a light on the regime's "pernicious efforts to influence higher education".
A 2019 study by researchers from the University College Dublin, summarized in an Op Ed in the Washington Post, found that after a Confucius Institute opens, there is a statistically significant shift in the tone of local media stories in the PRC's favor in the area where the CI is located.