In July of this year, the US State Department made an important announcement: China is working on creating the “world’s most advanced army” by stealing technology. Of course, one does not make an announcement of such magnitude without 1) Evidence and 2) Willingness to do something about it. And the United States is in the midst of a war against technology theft.
Sino American relations are at their most tense in decades. They are two antagonistic visions that are at odds with each other. In one corner, the world’s largest power, mostly Western-oriented, capitalist and traditionally based on the values of freedom – the United States – and in the other is the Chinese Communist regime. The latter is advancing rapidly in its influence in multilateral organizations and is carrying out a great plan to have allies at a global level.
In this context, it is not surprising that, during the Trump administration, the United States has taken a firm stance to confront Chinese power in various areas: economic, cultural, political, and also in terms of national security.
From one side and the other come the accusations. China says that the U.S. meddles in the internal affairs of the Communist regime by supporting Hong Kong and Taiwan, while the U.S. argues that China is the greatest threat to national security today. One such point lies in the theft of American technology.
“Civilian-military fusion (CMF) is a national strategy of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to transform the People’s Liberation Army into a ‘first-class army’ by 2049. Under CMP, the CCP is acquiring intellectual property, key research resources, and technological advances from citizens around the world, researchers, academics, and private industry,” were words in an announcement by the U.S. State Department.
That announcement, made in July, came after the United States closed the Chinese consulate in Houston “to protect American intellectual property and the private information of Americans”.
From then on, the security by American authorities increased. It even generated controversy, as interrogations and investigations against potential Chinese agents or researchers linked to the Chinese Communist Party increased.
There have been arrests, airport inspections, and investigations of Chinese scholarship students; situations that, ironically and hypocritically, served for the Chinese Communist Party to accuse the United States of racial persecution and human rights violations. In any case, this has not served to undermine U.S. efforts to try in court and detect CCP agents.
The war against technology theft is serious
According to a Sky News report, U.S. security officials said that “more than 1,000 Chinese researchers have left the U.S. in the midst of a campaign against alleged technology theft.
According to John Demers, head of the Justice Department’s national security division, these Chinese investigators fled the United States when “the department launched several criminal cases against Chinese operatives for industrial and technological espionage,” Sky reports.
It is worth clarifying that this new group of 1,000 Chinese researchers who left the U.S. have nothing to do with the 1,000 visas revoked to Chinese citizens last September by a presidential measure. On that occasion, the State Department announced the refusal of entry to Chinese students and researchers because they were considered a risk to national security.
According to the report, these 1,000 researchers who left the country are affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army of China.
Their departure, as reported by Sky, came after the FBI conducted interviews in more than 20 cities. The closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston would have also played a role in this.
Chinese researchers targeting Biden
Chinese researchers who left the U.S. as a result of technology theft investigations were already targeting the staff of a potential Biden administration, while also targeting “people close” to the former Democratic vice president’s team. All of this in the words of William Evanina, head of the counterintelligence branch of the office of the U.S. Director of National Intelligence.
Evanina added that these researchers who were under the scrutiny of U.S. agencies were “coming here at the behest of the Chinese government.
Sky said that “Mr. Biden’s transition team has refused to comment, but his campaign team said earlier this year that it was prepared for cyber attacks.
What would happen in an eventual Biden administration?
It is not certain what will happen in the near future, but, in an eventual Joe Biden administration, there are fears that the United States will once again become complacent about the Chinese regime’s efforts to expand its influence.
Therefore, whether the fight against technology theft will continue, or whether support from the executive branch will wane, will have to await future actions.
It is no secret that both China and the United States are currently the world’s major powers and that their interests clash. In this sense, the Chinese Communist Party had a year in which it increased its actions to project its power towards the West.
An example of this are loans to small countries and a communications strategy to promote its model in Western media. With the announcement that 1,000 Chinese researchers fled the U.S. – in the wake of the growing war against technology theft – a reality begins evolve: China continues to expand, and the U.S. is in the crosshairs.
In that sense, it is vital to remember what security expert Joseph Humire said in an exclusive interview with El American: “Foreign powers are seeking to break the Rule of Law and our unity in the United States”.