The College Fix Assistant Editor Greg Piper reports on a congressional hearing that looked at the “cozy” relationship between US academia and China.

China’s reported crackdown on college students celebrating Christmas is just the tip of the iceberg for Rep. Chris Smith, Republican of New Jersey.

The chairman of the Human Rights Subcommittee said that U.S. universities are complicit in Chinese attacks on academic and other freedoms, by virtue of their financial relationships with Chinese institutions, in a congressional hearing earlier this month.

Smith said he has asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to review whether U.S. universities have compromised the rights of faculty and students – including freedom of worship and association – by partnering with China on satellite campuses.

He also wants an investigation into the “Confucius institutes” that China has set up on North American college campuses – the subject of an earlier warning by the American Association of University Professors.

U.S. schools are trading their “credibility for China’s education dollars” by setting up campuses in China and developing “cozy” government relationships, Smith said in his opening statement. Confucius institutes promote China policy on issues such as Tibet and they “explicitly exclude Falun Gong practitioners” from hiring, he said.

Schools such as New York University are “justifying quiet compromises that they would never entertain at home” on their China campuses, deluding themselves into believing they can “slowly change China from the inside,” Smith said.

NYU terminated the fellowship of a prominent Chinese human rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, a year after he came to the U.S. following a tense international standoff. Chen accused NYU of forcing him out in response to pressure from Beijing.

Smith said NYU’s president and “key” faculty have repeatedly declined to testify before his subcommittee. He said they will be reinvited for future hearings on the subject.

While NYU was the first to open a satellite campus, Smith said, schools including the University of Pittsburgh, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Michigan have opened such campuses in the last year.