500 US Scientists Investigated For Being Compromised By China
UNITED STATES - 500 US scientists are currently being investigated for being compromised by China, as well as other countries, including lying on grant applications to receive millions of dollars to fund research for the Chinese Communist Party.
Senator Patty Murray spoke at a hearing before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee which primarily addressed protecting biomedical research from foreign nations and stated, "It's important that researchers with foreign affiliations and potential conflicts of interest—for example, participation in foreign talent programs or commitments to file patents in, or move laboratories to, foreign nations—fully disclose those issues when applying for federal grants."
The senator also added, "The latest report from the National Institutes of Health on undisclosed conflicts of interest found cause for concern with only 507 grant recipients—compared to over 30,000 total grantees in 2020".
Murray went on to say, "The National Institutes of Health has made progress in implementing policies and procedures to raise awareness of, prevent and address undue foreign influence among the biomedical research community. Investigations from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General, the department's Office of National Security and the Government Accountability Office make clear there is more NIH can be doing here".
Michael Lauer, who is the deputy director for extramural research at the NIH said that the NIH has been in contact with 90 institutions "regarding concerns involving over 200 scientists."
Lauer stated "The individuals violating laws and policies represent a small proportion of scientists working in and with U.S. institutions. We must ensure that our responses to this issue do not create a hostile environment for colleagues who are deeply dedicated to advancing human health through scientific inquiry. We cannot afford to reject brilliant minds working honestly and collaboratively to provide hope and healing to millions around the world."
Senator Richard Burr stated that "the government of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party are the most sophisticated perpetrators, but other foreign actors are also engaged in efforts to subvert our biomedical research."
In addition, Richard added "Our adversaries are engaging in a systematic effort to infiltrate the academic research community and siphon away the results of United States spending on biomedical research." and added that Chinese citizens who are "backed by their government" are coming to work in the United Sates "with the full intent to bring back to China's government everything they can learn, store or steal."
Gary Cantrell, deputy inspector general for investigations at the Health and Human Services Department spoke of scientists who have applied for NIH grants only to use them to fund Chinese research.
Gary laid out one such example of an investigation on a researcher that resulted in a criminal plea after he "admitted he lied on applications in order to use approximately $4.1 million in NIH grants to enhance China's expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology."
In July of 2020, President Donald Trump closed the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas accusing the Chinese consulate diplomats of spying and stealing scientific research from America for the Chinese government.
Researchers aren't the only ones who have been compromised by the Chinese however, as the Chinese reach even as far up as the United States congress.
A Chinese national named Christine Fang, also called "Fang Fang" honed in on promising Californian politicians who were thought to have the potential to rise up in politics, started relationships with them and groomed them for political power.
Fang Fang had relationships with at least two mayors and even took part in Eric Swalwell's 2014 re-election campaign and recruited at least one of Swalwell's interns.
A senior U.S. intelligence official stated she was just "one of lots of agents" in the U.S. government who have been or are now in place by the Chinese Communist Party.