A Department of Defense study has shown the Chinese government is making use of a U.S. government-program to serve their own interests.

The Pentagon’s Small Business Innovation Research program aims at promoting innovation among small U.S. companies. The awards process is competitive.

However, according to the Wall Street Journal, the report finds that some program members have joined Chinese government talent programs. More importantly, they have continued to work at institutions that support China’s People’s Liberation Army.

The report lists eight typical cases with quote “national and economic security implications” end-quote.

One case was about a U.S. developer of polymer solar cells called Solarmer Energy Inc. Solarmer Energy Inc. received funding from the Pentagon and other agencies. However, the firm later dissolved its U.S.-based operation. Afterward, it moved its research, development, and intellectual property to a Beijing-based subsidiary.

The subsidiary also works with a Chinese state-run lab and has conducted research with defense applications.

Pentagon report cited another case of Soluxra LLC. Soluxra developed solar technology for spacecraft and drones. It received four grants from the program. It is now dissolved.

Pentagon researchers said that two of Soluxra’s co-founders and one of its research scientists were allegedly recruited by Chinese government while still being company employees.
These key people then worked for universities connected to a Chinese defense agency called State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

The Chinese regime has more than 200 talent recruitment programs. The most prominent one is the Thousand Talent Program. The U.S. has accused these state-run programs of espionage and intellectual property theft.

Still, the Pentagon researchers warned that their study only represents a small data sample and is by no means comprehensive or exhaustive.
The report has called for a more thorough identification-review process.

In response, some lawmakers on Capitol Hill have voiced support for the calls. A five-year program is going through a reauthorization process in a sweeping, bipartisan legislation.

For example, Iowa Senator Joni Ernst, a member of the Small Business Committee, said she would not reauthorize the programs if the legislation failed to address this request.

She said the U.S. can and should take serious steps to compete with the Chinese Communist Party, pouring billions of dollars into research and development with little oversight or accountability is not the answer,

Last Thursday, May 5, Senator Marco Rubio led a group of lawmakers to roll out a bill. The bill would prevent any U.S. taxpayer research from being shared or done jointly with Chinese entities associated with the Chinese military.

Talking about the bill, Senator Rubio said Beijing would lie, cheat, and steal to become more powerful than the United States.

The Senator said many U.S. scientists and experts working with Chinese colleagues do not know the Chinese military will weaponize their research.

Senator Tom Cotton, another bill co-sponsor, said that many colleges, universities, and private companies in the U.S. still work with China for research when they know their intellectual property might be stolen. And the bill will make sure China can not use American research against its own.

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