The Chinese government and associated companies funded a prominent northern Virginia school near Washington, D.C., to the tune of more than $1 million.
Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, Virginia received major grants from organizations with direct ties to Beijing. According to a report from the group Parents Defending Education, the school accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars from a group known as the Ameson Education and Cultural Exchange Foundation.
The Ameson organization is tied to the Chinese United Front Work Department, which aids the Chinese Communist Party. The school was also accused of having direct ties with Beijing’s Tsinghua University High School.
There is considerable fear that Chinese money may be filtering into American schools. The school focuses on science and technology education in particular and is located in the rapidly-growing northern Virginia suburbs near Washington.
The funding of the Thomas Jefferson school also ties in with conservative criticism of the school’s curriculum. Concerns about the use of critical race theory led to parent protests.
Fairfax County Public Schools known for CRT and trans education gets funding from Chinese groups: report – why is China so deep into America https://t.co/JIMIqtyGe2
— Parrish🇺🇸🗽 (@Parrish2429) March 8, 2023
Many parents described the school’s practices as discriminatory, especially against Asian students.
In particular, the school’s revised admission policies sharply reduced the proportion of Asian students in the school. The school denies using race as a criterion for student entry, but the policy resulted in what activists call results based on the applicants’ race.
The latest news comes during an extended period of saber-rattling between Washington and Beijing. The United States strongly protested the use of a Chinese spy balloon over American territory and shot the craft down over the coast of South Carolina.
Furthermore, the conflict with China extended into congressional politics. Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) changed his plans regarding a planned trip to Taiwan.
The powerful Republican agreed to meet Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen in California following fear of provoking Beijing. The original plan was to have McCarthy travel to Taiwan in person.
The visit and the revelation of Chinese funding for an American school so close to the capital is likely to increase scrutiny on U.S.-Chinese relations.