A report released in July found that U.S. researchers have extensively collaborated with universities affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Furthermore, the report identified more than a hundred U.S. universities and government-backed research laboratories that worked with institutions linked to the PLA – a cause of concern as it compromises the U.S.’s national security.
Analysts at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution found 254 papers dating from 2013 until 2019, where U.S. researchers collaborated with seven universities long known for supporting China’s military programs on a wide range of research topics. The institution’s report also found 115 research institutions in the U.S. – including 11 federal research facilities – that worked with the seven.
The seven universities, known as the Seven Sons of National Defense, have been administered by the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology since 2008. They were originally founded with a primary focus on military science, but eventually became civilian universities incorporating non-military disciplines.
The Hoover Institution’s report also discovered that some Chinese researchers working alongside their U.S. counterparts have ties with various PLA departments and state-owned defense companies, such as the PLA Rocket Force in charge of China’s nuclear missiles and the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation. The Chinese researchers attempted to conceal these links by using incomplete English names, sometimes leaving them out entirely in English versions of their profiles.
Furthermore, the paper also expressed concern on how the findings of these research papers will be used. One article named researchers from the Xi’an Engineering College, run by the People’s Armed Police (PAP), as co-authors. The PAP performs domestic security and surveillance duties hat help the Chinese Communist Party control the population. Eventually, the Xi’an Engineering College subsequently merged with a military unit in Xinjiang – where Uighurs are imprisoned in concentration camps and actively repressed.
Chinese researchers lie and steal to get their hands on U.S. scientific knowledge
The Hoover Institution’s report builds upon an earlier one published in 2018 by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) describing how China has sponsored more than 2,500 military scientists and engineers to overseas institutions – which the PLA described this as “picking flowers and making honey.” The ASPI report also cited the U.S. as the top country for PLA military scientists to visit – followed by the UK, Canada, Australia and Germany.
The July 30 report concluded that China’s “direct and largely unrestricted access” impacted U.S. national security for by diverting research toward programs that undermine American military superiority and redirecting research toward applications that enhance human rights abuses. Given that the Seven Sons universities directly support China’s “military-civil fusion strategy” that permitted use of non-military research for military purposes, the authors suggested “new approaches” toward risk management to be applied with urgency.
One Chinese military researcher would have made it out of the U.S. with important research information – until authorities got him. Federal authorities arrested 36-year-old Xin Wang as he was attempting to board his flight back to China. He had spent one year on a fellowship at the University of California at San Francisco, and had carried research materials from the university with him during his arrest.
Wang indicated in his visa application that he was an “associate professor in medicine” on his visa application, but admitted to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers that he was a level-9 technician for the PLA – which roughly corresponded with the rank of major in the military. Authorities charged Wang with one count of visa fraud, punishable with up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if found guilty.
Later, authorities nabbed 29-year-old Guan Lei amid suspicions of visa fraud, adding that he may have provided high-ranking Chinese military officials with sensitive data. Investigators questioned Lei, who worked at the mathematics department of the University of California Los Angeles, before the researcher tried to board a flight back to China. CBP agents stopped him from boarding. Days later, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) monitoring Lei saw him throw away a damaged hard drive.
Just like Wang, Lei initially denied any military connection but eventually admitted participation in Chinese military training – having attended the National University of Defense Technology. Authorities charged Lei with a felony count of destruction of evidence, with a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.
Learn more about the devious methods Chinese researchers use to obtain U.S. research at Lies.news.