The FBI urges American universities to follow students and guest scientists from Chinese state-related research institutions, amid the fear that China is chasing the American academic world.
NPR reports that officials of the intelligence office have at least ten member schools of the Association of American universities since 2018 to keep an eye on Chinese academics with links to certain entities.
Universities must also check that Chinese students are not stealing research with potential defense applications and sending it home.
The FBI encourages American universities to develop protocols for monitoring students and visiting scientists from Chinese state-related research institutions (stock image from FBI headquarters)
But administrators have pushed back the non-mandatory advice of the FBI because they are skeptical about the threat from foreign students.
& # 39; We are asked what processes there are to know which laboratories they work at or what information they are exposed to & # 39 ;, Fred Cate, vice president of research at Indiana University, told NPR.
& # 39; It's not just a question of looking for suspicious behavior – it's really really focused on specific countries and the people from those countries. & # 39;
Cate also criticized the fact that universities should carry out manual checks on students.
& # 39; You really look at compliance systems that need to be rolled out per department and per person to see if you put research data in an envelope and send it to China, & # 39; Cate. said.
Although the FBI does not exclude students from other countries from being followed, it mainly focuses on Chinese students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
FBI officials have told at least 10 member schools of the Association of American Universities, including Stanford (stock image), to monitor Chinese academics from 2018 with links to specific entities
It is in the midst of Washington's growing mistrust of espionage and cyber security threats from rival China, which wants to become a scientific power by 2049.
FBI Director Christopher Wray said during a February 2018 Congress hearing that China exploits the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all respect, but abused.
He also told the Council on Foreign Relations in April: & # 39; The Chinese intelligence services use strategically every tool at their disposal – including state-owned companies, students, researchers and apparently private companies – to systematically steal information and intellectual property. & # 39;
FBI director Christopher Wray (photo) told a congress in February 2018 that China & # 39; the very open research and development environment that we have & # 39; operates & # 39;
Intelligence officials have also informed hundreds of US CEOs, investors and think tank experts about what (China) they are trying to collect, what they are interested in in our campuses, William Evanina, director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, NPR said.
The Trump government has long accused China of stealing American technology, a key factor behind the trade war between the two countries, and has complained about what intellectual self-esteem by Chinese scientists in American research institutions deems.
At least 30 Chinese professors, many of whom specialize in social sciences and government policy, have canceled their visas to the US or have entered an administrative review in the past year, The New York Times reported in April.
& # 39; They may feel that we know too much about the United States & # 39 ;, one of the Chinese scholars whose visa was canceled, Lu Xiang, told The NYT.
Last year, the Trump administration also began limiting visas for graduate students who were studying science and technology.
In May, Republicans introduced laws that would deny visas to investigators associated with Chinese military institutions.
For decades, the US believed that it allowed Chinese people to study in the United States and find out more about its values, which benefited both countries.
But now the growing Chinese footprint in the American academic world is raising concern.
The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, warned research institutions last year that & # 39; foreign entities have set up systematic programs to NIH researchers and peer reviewers & # 39; to influence.
The biomedical research agency investigates grant recipients for not disclosing cooperation or financing from China and for sharing material with Chinese researchers.
In March, representatives of the US intelligence services told about 70 university administrators of the American Education Council to avoid research funding from Chinese companies such as Huawei, NPR reports.
Universities including MIT, Stanford and Illinois have already entered into partnerships with Huawei.
A bipartisan Senate investigation committee issued a report in February that showed that a large percentage of American universities had violated the law by hiding its foreign funding sources, according to Daily caller.
& # 39; Since 2006, the Subcommittee has established that China has directly provided more than $ 158 million in funding to American schools for Confucius institutes, & # 39; report said.
But different university presidents have issued statements confirm their commitment to Chinese researchers and students.
Last month, the president of Yale University, Peter Salovey, said he wanted to encourage federal agencies to address their concerns about international academic exchanges. The AAU has encouraged agencies to use existing tools, such as export controls, while confirming the principle of open academic exchange for fundamental research. "
More than 340,000 Chinese students studied in the United States last year, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
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