Report: U.S. fails to stop China

WASHINGTON — The United States government has failed to stop China from stealing intellectual property from American universities and lacks a comprehensive strategy for dealing with the threat, a congressional report concluded Monday.

The report says the FBI should be more effective and consistent in warning universities about the threat of Chinese economic and industrial espionage at colleges and universities. It also asserts agencies that award research grants or provide visas for scientists don’t do enough to monitor or track the recipients, and that universities themselves must do a better job identifying foreign funding sources and conflicts of interest among the scientists on their campuses.

The problem is especially urgent, says the report from the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, because billions of dollars in taxpayer-funded research have “contributed to China’s global rise over the last 20 years” and to its goal of being a world leader in science and technology by 2050.

“As American policy makers navigate an increasingly complicated relationship with China, it is not in our national security interest to fund China’s economic and military development with taxpayer dollars,” the report says.

The report is the most recent government study to analyze Chinese intellectual property theft on college campuses and to scrutinize the shortcomings of the government agencies in addressing the problem. It focuses on Chinese programs that recruit scientists with access to cutting-edge technology in the U.S., incentivizing them to conduct research for Beijing’s gain and even to steal the work of academics in America. In recent years, the report says, those programs have been exploited by scientists who have downloaded sensitive research files before returning to China, filed patents based on U.S. research, lied on grant applications or failed to disclose money they’d received from Chinese institutions.

“The U.S. academic community is in the crosshairs of not only foreign competitors contending for the best and brightest, but also of foreign nation states that seek to transfer valuable intellectual capital and steal intellectual property,” the report states. “As the academic community looks to the federal government for guidance and direction on mitigating threats, the U.S. government must provide effective, useful, timely and specific threat information and tools to counter the threats.”


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