PRINCETON, N.J. – Rider University’s hugely controversial decision to sell a respected music school to Kaiwen Education, a company party-owned by the Chinese government is receiving a challenge from the State of new Jersey.
This week, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office set a letter to sent a letter to New Jerset Superior Court Judge Paul Innes asking for additional time to analyze the Westminster Choir College’s $56 million sale. Rider is reportedly taking its time to provide answers; for example, at one point, the university waited six months to answer only two of 49 questions posed to it by the state.
Prior to 2016? Kaiwen Education was an official Chinese government-owned defense industry contractor.
Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space, both Republicans of the 24th Legislative District, recently brought forward legislation (ACR222) to oppose the sale which is awaiting action before the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee.
“I think Rider University’s lack of cooperation speaks volumes,” said Wirths.
“This company has never offered professional music training. Its interest in the music college for the purpose of academia seems dubious,” Wirths continued. “It appears that the Chinese government may be using the guise of academia to access Princeton’s world-class scientists, researchers, and institutions for nefarious purposes.”
It’s not a wild conspiracy theory.
The FBI has issued a formal warning that foreign governments attempt to use institutions of higher learning as fronts to recruit spies, conduct espionage, steal technology, and undermine American interests.
“We cannot sell this jewel to the authoritarian Chinese government,” concluded Space. “I’m pleased with the opinion of the attorney general’s office. This is a good sign. I hope it helps stop the sale completely.”