STEMming China’s Student Espionage

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When the reasons mount for rethinking cherished academic practices, academia doubles down on those procedures.

For example, as the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and others have shown, there is no shortage of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) majors to fill available jobs requiring those skills. Yet and still, academics proclaim that the need is so acute that they need to import STEM majors from abroad.

It turns out that, on top of that misconception, some of these foreign students may actually be, well, spies.  “The Chinese regime can work spies recruited in college into positions in research, government agencies, or U.S. companies,” Joshua Phillipp reported in The Epoch Times.  Phillips quotes representatives of American firms as well as former spies for the People’s Republic of China on the manner in which China uses students.

“Chen Yonglin, a former Chinese diplomat at the Chinese Consulate in Sydney, told Epoch Times when he defected in 2005 there were more than 1,000 Chinese secret agents operating in Australia, alone,” Phillipp reported. “If Chen’s estimates are true, then consider the situation in the United States, which has more than 14 times the population of Australia and much more military and commercial data to pique the interests of China’s spy army.”

Additionally, China makes use of cultural exchanges and preys on American students studying abroad. “To foster the relationship, foreign intelligence operatives will flatter and encourage students, show interest in their future success, and even promise to help them obtain a government-issued visa or work permit—but it’s all disingenuous and empty promises,” Mollie Halpern, at the FBI Office of Public Affairs said in an FBI podcast which Phillipp quoted. “The truth is, the operatives are just using the student as a pawn to achieve their own ends, without concern for the student’s welfare or future.”

Former House Majority leader Richard Armey, R-Texas, used to say, “When you make a deal with the devil, you are always the junior partner.”

“None of them finds it easy to work with an academic system whose standards and values are so different from those in the West,” The Economist observed of American universities attempting to open branch campuses in China. “Not least of the hurdles is maintaining scholarly independence in China’s restrictive political environment.”

“The Communist Party sees universities partly as training grounds for loyalists who will one day be leaders in government and business. The study of Marxism is compulsory for all except foreigners.”