November 25, 2019
Billions of dollars in scientific research funded by American taxpayers has been stolen by China right under our noses and the U.S. government has no plan to stop the ongoing theft of the highly valued intellectual property. In the meantime the publicly-funded work is helping the Communist nation meet its goal of becoming a world leader in science and technology, according to a scathing report published by the U.S. Senate. “This report exposes how American taxpayer funded research has contributed to China’s global rise over the last 20 years,” the document states. “During that time, China openly recruited U.S.-based researchers, scientists, and experts in the public and private sector to provide China with knowledge and intellectual capital in exchange for monetary gain and other benefits.”
While the Chinese Communists run their illicit operation on our own soil, the federal government’s grant-making and law enforcement agencies sit by and let it happen. This includes the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the vast law enforcement agency charged with protecting and defending the U.S. against terrorist attacks, foreign intelligence threats and espionage, cyber-based attack and high-technology crimes. None of the government agencies impacted by the costly crimes have bothered to develop a coordinated response to mitigate the ongoing threat, Senate investigators found. “These failures continue to undermine the integrity of the American research enterprise and endanger our national security,” the report says.
China uses hundreds of government-funded talent recruitment plans to incentivize individuals engaged in research and development in the U.S. to transmit information in exchange for salaries, research funding, lab space and other perks. The Communists then use the American research for their own economic and military gain, Senate investigators say. The report includes specific examples provided by federal agencies that discovered Chinese talent recruitment members who downloaded sensitive electronic research files before returning to China, submitted false information when applying for grant funds and willfully failed to disclose receiving money from the Chinese government on U.S. grant applications. One Chinese talent recruitment member removed 30,000 electronic files before heading back home. Another filed a patent based on U.S. government-funded research and hired other Chinese recruitment plan members to work on American national security projects. “One Chinese talent recruitment plan member stole proprietary defense information related to U.S. military jet engines,” the report states. “Others have contractually agreed to give Chinese institutions intellectual property rights that overlapped with research conducted at U.S. institutions.”
The U.S. government spends more than $150 billion annually on scientific research by funding work at agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) national laboratories. The NSF, for instance, funds about 27% of all basic research at U.S. colleges and universities where theft of intellectual property by the Chinese is pervasive. The NIH invests north of $31 billion annually on medical research through tens of thousands of competitive grants awarded to hundreds of thousands of candidates. As the largest federal sponsor of basic research in the physical sciences, the DOE awards a whopping $6.6 billion in grants and contracts each year to tens of thousands of researchers at hundreds of institutions. Each of these agencies has been deeply impacted by Chinese infiltrators stealing valuable research, according to the extensive Senate probe. This has been going on for decades.
In fact, more than 20 years ago Judicial Watch helped expose a Chinese Communist scientist (Wen Ho Lee), who stole nuclear secrets from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, among the world’s largest science institutions and the nation’s key nuclear weapons research facility. The Bill Clinton Justice Department refused to prosecute Lee because then Attorney General Janet Reno claimed the accusations against him were racist. Judicial Watch represented the whistleblower, Notra Trulock, responsible for launching an investigation into Lee’s actions. Trulock was the DOE’s intelligence operations chief and Clinton administration officials defamed him by accusing him of being a racist to cover up Lee’s repeated and embarrassing security violations.