Amid Penn Biden Center Controversy, University Denies It is Housing Chinese Students
January 26, 2023 at 3:33 pm
Last week, the United States House Oversight and Accountability Committee sent a letter to University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill requesting information on any and all students living in campus dorms of Chinese descent or with “foreign-sounding last names in general.” The letter, signed by committee Chairman Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), alleges that the University received “millions of dollars from anonymous Chinese sources” after the foundation of the Penn Biden Center and continues to provide “material support” to the Communist Party of China by “allowing Asians” on campus. The letter, merely the latest development in a string of ongoing crises regarding disputed ties between the People’s Republic of China and the Biden Center, comes just days after Congressional Republicans accused Penn of offering Chinese language classes.
At a press conference last Monday, a Penn spokesperson affirmed the University's intention to cooperate with the request and clarified that Penn “has never, is not, and will not ever house students of Chinese descent.” The University also rolled out new revisions to the Undergraduate Student Handbook instructing Chinese-surnamed students to change their listed names with the registrar, providing example names like “Thomas Smith” and “Kayleigh Johnson”. “Students who refuse to adhere to this policy,” the revised handbook continues, “will be subject to deportation either to a random location in East Asia or the UC Townhomes.”
The move was quickly met with backlash from local student leaders. At a rally in front of College Hall, several hundred students demanded that the University extend greater protections for its Asian community. “It’s ridiculous that people are taking legitimate concerns about the conduct of the People’s Republic of China and transforming them into indiscriminate hate against Asian people who have nothing to do with the problem,” said student activist Wallace Zhong. “And this extends to those who think that we can solve the problem by just being ‘more American.’ This notion that we can separate Asians into the ‘good, white-washed ones’ and the ‘bad, foreign ones’ is fundamentally problematic.
“It’s a shame that we can’t separate the horrors of the Chinese government from the aspirations of the Chinese people,” he continued as he was dragged into an unmarked van.
At press time, this reporter was busy eating an all-American hot dog with freedom fries after changing his name to Ted Kennedy-Bentsen.