Jay Chen, a Democrat running for Congress from California, fought to bring Chinese Communist Party (CCP) teaching materials to public schools in his district when he was a school board member.
Chen is now running to unseat freshman Rep. Michelle Steel (R-CA) — a Korean American, whom Chen accused of engaging in “anti-Asian racism” that perpetuates a “rise in violent, anti-Asian hate crimes” in a recent campaign e-mail.
In a 2010 effort that resulted in a move to recall four board members of the Hacienda La Puente Unified School District, Chen led the charge to bring the Confucius Classroom to the children he represented.
Confucius Classroom programs are funded by the CCP’s Ministry of Education as an effort to push Chinese language and culture into American K-12 schools. It has a college-level counterpart called the Confucius Institute, which was designated by the U.S. Department of State as a “foreign mission” and propaganda tool in 2020.
In a press release explaining the designation, then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Confucius Institute is “advancing Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence campaign.”
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, Chen, along with fellow school board members Norman Hsu, Anita Perez, and Joseph Chang were all subject to recall efforts in 2011 for their support of the Chinese propaganda. At the time, a former superintendent of the school district John Kramar said, “The Chinese government is paying the bill, providing the books, and they wanted to supply the teachers. … The culture would be only the grand and glorious nature of the People’s Republic of China – that’s propaganda and it has no place in the classroom.”
But Chen disagreed, saying “I don’t see anything sinister about using books from China, practically everything we use is made in China,” and asserted there was a “racist sentiment” behind the opposition to the CCP propaganda tools in America’s classrooms.
Continuing to ascribe racial motivations behind the opponents to the program, instead of the fact that the purpose of the programs is to subjugate American society, Chen said the school board at the time “faced adversity” because a majority of the members were Asian.
Ultimately, after voting 4-1 in favor of CCP propaganda in classrooms, the school district reversed its decision after backlash from parents.
Now, as a candidate for Congress, Chen is doubling down on his support for the agitprop, fundraising off of his time as a school board member.
In a campaign e-mail responding to Steel’s focus on Chen’s advocacy for “CCP-sponsored schools,” Chen accused the congresswoman — who is Korean American — of engaging in “anti-Asian racism” that perpetuates a “rise in violent, anti-Asian hate crimes.” Chen also denied the Confucius Classrooms’ ties to the CCP.
“There is broad bipartisan agreement that Confucius Institutes are an indoctrination effort funded by the Chinese Communist Party,” Steel spokesman Lance Trover said. “Rather than condemn these indoctrination efforts, Jay Chen decided to double down on his support and call congresswoman Steel anti-Asian. This all raises serious questions about his ties to China, as well as his judgment for a ridiculous attack on one of the first Korean-American women elected to Congress. He owes voters an explanation.”
While Steel was able to pull off an upset in 2020, flipping a blue district red, Chen will be running in a state that is seeing a precipitous drop in popularity for President Joe Biden, the leader of his party.
Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.