Thomas Gallatin / December 5, 2020

1,000 Chinese ‘Researchers’ Have Fled the U.S.

Meanwhile, the DNI argues that China is the number one threat to the U.S.

This past summer, the FBI arrested six Chinese researchers for lying on their visa applications and for being suspected of engaging in efforts to steal intellectual property at the direction of the Chinese government. On Wednesday, the Justice Department announced that 1,000 additional Chinese “researchers” had fled the country. Coincidence?

Assistant Attorney General John Demers explained that the arrests “allowed us to message the Chinese government: If you’re going to send individuals here, you’ve got to do so honestly and you can’t hide their affiliation to the Chinese government and the Chinese military.” However, according to another anonymous official, the number of Chinese researchers that left the U.S. surprised the DOJ: “The breadth and depth of the exodus was not expected, but it was appreciated.”

Analyst Gary Bauer, however, argues that the DOJ’s “surprise” regarding the number of Chinese individuals engaged in espionage is confounding. “For the past 30 years, ‘cultural exchange’ programs with China have flourished in the United States, all the while facilitating Beijing’s aggressive espionage efforts,” Bauer writes. Yet, he adds, “Previous administrations of both parties generally ignored it, too afraid of upsetting the status quo.”

The scope of Beijing’s efforts to spy on and steal intellectual property from the U.S. should be an obvious indication of which country stands as the greatest threat to America today. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe certainly agrees with that assessment, as he labeled China the United States’ number one security threat. In an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal, Ratcliffe contends that China is gearing up to face off against the U.S. soon. “Beijing is preparing for an open-ended period of confrontation with the U.S.,” he says. “Washington should also be prepared. Leaders must work across partisan divides to understand the threat, speak about it openly, and take action to address it.”

Ratcliffe then asserts, “This generation will be judged by its response to China’s effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower. The intelligence is clear. Our response must be as well.”

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