NIH says that over 500 federally funded U.S. scientists are under investigation for being compromised by China and other foreign powers
Last year, the FBI said that China’s theft of technology is the biggest law enforcement threat to the United States. Then, the coronavirus hit and the U.S. has to divert its resources to combat the virus that came from, you guessed it, China. Just last week, Chinese hackers used a previously undisclosed vulnerability in American networking devices to spy on the U.S. defense industry
As the United States battles China on all fronts including military superiority and technology dominance, China continues its relentless effort to steal U.S. scientific research. As we reported about a year ago, the US government charged four Chinese military spies with hacking the credit bureau Equifax. About four months later, two Chinese engineers were also found guilty of stealing US Chipmaker Micron Technology secrets and transferred them to China.
Fast forward to today, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) revealed to the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee on Thursday that more than 500 federally funded scientists are currently under investigation for possible ties to China and other foreign powers.
During the committee hearing on protecting American biomedical research from foreign influence, NIH officials testified they are having trouble keeping up with workloads and hundreds of cases of potential foreign influence, especially from China.
NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research Dr. Michael S. Lauer also said that more than 90 percent of the scientists investigated last year had received some form of support from China. Chinese espionage operations have targeted virtually every corner of American biological and medical research, according to a report from Breitbart
The most recent high profile influence cases include Southern Illinois University-Carbondale Professor Mingqing Xiao, a 20-year veteran of the mathematics department charged with wire fraud on Wednesday for concealing funding from the Chinese government, and former Nationwide Children’s Hospital Research Institute employee Yu Zhou, sentenced to 33 months in prison and payment of $2.6 million in restitution on Monday for conspiring to steal trade secrets on behalf of China.
In addition, Candice Wright, acting director of science and technology for the Government Accountability Office (GAO), also said:
“We certainly reached out to the university community and talked a lot with principal investigators as well as administrators, and one of the things that we heard certainly is the need for more information sharing, the need for more training, more guidance, particularly in terms of identifying foreign talent recruitment programs.”
“We heard from certainly a number of the principal investigators that many of them either were not aware of foreign talent recruitment programs or just simply didn’t even know how they would go about identifying such programs,” Wright added.
You can watch the video of the hearing here.