American universities are easy targets for Chinese influence campaigns — a reality of which the Chinese Communist Party is well aware.
As former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned last year, the Chinese government knows that “left-leaning college campuses are rife with anti-Americanism, and present easy targets for their anti-American messaging.”
“That’s why they planted Confucius Institutes on our campuses,” said Pompeo, who noted that they are “literally up to no good.”
Beyond their efforts to warm Americans’ views of Chinese communism, Xi Jinping’s government has been bold enough to try and steal research developed by America’s higher education system. From smuggling hard drives into China on private planes to blatantly lying about affiliations with the People’s Liberation Army, federal law enforcement officials have uncovered elaborate plots to capitalize upon the intellectual property produced at American universities.
Here are five examples of this alarming trend.
In January, a Chinese researcher associated with a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital was sentenced for attempting to smuggle biological research from the university to China.
According to a Department of Justice press release, Zaosong Zheng “stole vials of biological research, hid the vials in his luggage, and attempted to take them out of the United States aboard a flight destined for China.” Law enforcement officials at Logan Airport in Boston “discovered the vials hidden in a sock inside one of Zheng’s bags.”
At first, Zheng denied that he was traveling with biological research. However, he later admitted that he stole the research from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and attempted to bring the research to China.
Stanford University researcher Chen Song was charged with visa fraud, destruction of documents, and a host of other crimes as she attempted to illegally conceal her links to the Chinese military.
U.S. Attorney David Anderson alleged in February that “while Chen Song worked as a researcher at Stanford University, she was secretly a member of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army.” When she feared discovery, Song “destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity.”
In 2018, Song entered the United States through a non-immigrant visa in order to conduct brain disease research at Stanford. Though she reported employment at Xi Diaoyutai Hospital in Beijing, officials discovered that she was truly employed by the People’s Liberation Army Air Force General Hospital.
Once her cover was blown, she attempted to erase a deluge of files on her personal hard drive — including a letter to the Chinese consulate in New York admitting that Xi Diaoyutai Hospital was a false front, an image of her military credentials, and “a photograph of her in military dress uniform and listing her employer as the Air Force General Hospital.”
When confronted by FBI agents, Song allegedly lied and deleted several emails “relevant to her military service, employment, and affiliations.”
Southern Illinois University
A Southern Illinois University mathematics professor concealed links to the Chinese government while applying for federal research money.
Mingqing Xiao obtained $151,099 from the National Science Foundation while “on the payroll of Shenzhen University” in China, according to the Department of Justice. When asked “whether he held any position outside of the United States or had obtained funding from non-U.S. funding sources,” he replied that he had no information to disclose.
“Again, an American professor stands accused of enabling the Chinese government’s efforts to corruptly benefit from U.S. research funding by lying about his obligations to, and support from, an arm of the Chinese government and a Chinese public university,” commented Assistant Attorney General John Demers.
U.S. Attorney Steven Weinhoeft remarked that “university grant fraud allows China to co-opt U.S. research and development at a fraction of the cost.”
Ohio State University
A Chinese professor associated with Ohio State University and Pennsylvania State University pleaded guilty to scamming the National Institutes of Health while applying for immunology research funding.
The Justice Department states that Song Guo Zheng sought to “hide his participation in Chinese Talent Plans and his affiliation and collaboration with a Chinese university controlled by the Chinese government.” In May 2020, he was arrested in Alaska while attempting to board a charter flight to China.
Authorities found “three large bags,” “one small suitcase and a briefcase containing two laptops,” “three cell phones,” “several USB drives,” “several silver bars,” “expired Chinese passports for his family,” and “deeds for property in China.”
Zheng had been involved with a Chinese Talent Plan — a “program established by the Chinese government to recruit individuals with knowledge or access to foreign technology intellectual property” — since 2013. For the next seven years, he used research funded by the United States to benefit the Chinese government.
University of Arkansas
A University of Arkansas researcher was indicted on charges of wire fraud and passport fraud after failing to disclose China ties.
Simon Saw-Teong Ang — who led the University of Arkansas’ High Density Electronics Center — “received money and benefits from China and was closely associated with various companies based in China” while he was receiving grants from various United States government agencies, including NASA.
The Justice Department alleges that Ang “knowingly and willfully devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and to obtain money and property from unknowing United States Government Agencies, the University of Arkansas, and others by means of material false and fraudulent pretenses.”
FBI Little Rock Special Agent Diane Upchurch stated that “the significant federal charges leveled against Simon Ang demonstrate how real the PRC’s pervasive threat is to Arkansan innovation and businesses.” Assistant Attorney General Demers remarked that “this is a hallmark of China’s targeting of research and academic collaborations within the United States in order to obtain U.S. technology illegally.”
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
The Daily Wire is one of America’s fastest-growing conservative media companies and counter-cultural outlets for news, opinion, and entertainment. Get inside access to The Daily Wire by becoming a member.