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By Bilal Hafeez 04-07-2019
In: post | China & Hong Kong

FBI Urges Universities to Monitor Some Chinese Students and Scholars in the U.S. (National Public Radio, 5 min read)

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(You can read the article by clicking here) Chinese academic researchers in STEM fields at US universities are being increasingly monitored amid fears of intellectual property theft – there are some 340,000 Chinese students in the US as of last year. The FBI and a number of counter-intelligence officials are warning of the emergence of non-traditional spies who steal technology to help China get ahead. The officials have been visiting college heads to educate them on the risks and on how to identify potential threats on campus. The universities, however, see these briefings not just as too vague, but also as damaging to their ongoing research. There emerges a trade-off, then, between national security risks and the maintenance of engagement with the global research community. The only formally blacklisted company by numerous Universities has been Huawei – the rest are approached on a case by case basis. The article also reveals how warnings are not limited to education – now American tech companies, think-tanks, and investors are alerted of cyber espionage threats and discouraged of collaborating. If we place the piece within the wider political landscape, President Trump and the top officials at the FBI have long advocated that China is using every tool at its disposal to steal information, but these types of policies are likely to endure beyond his tenure and could negatively impact the US education sector in terms of revenues and research advances. Further, it entrenches the tech cold war that is emerging between the US and China.

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