Over the years, the influence of the Chinese regime in the United States has become more significant, but only in recent times has it become an issue of greater concern to different sectors of American society, especially with regard to education.
On Feb. 8, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech at the 2020 National Governors Association (NGA) winter meeting to warn about the influence of the Chinese regime in the United States.
One of the points he touched upon at the meeting was the so-called Thousand Talent Plan, which consists of recruiting American scientists and professors with the aim of transferring knowledge to China and thus generating large profits.
The funds that finance renowned American institutions and their high standards in education at an international level have also been under the government’s scrutiny.
Yale and Harvard are two examples of universities being investigated by the State Department for close links to funding from foreign countries, including China.
Similarly, U.S. intelligence agencies have been reporting an increase in espionage activities by the Chinese regime at a rate never seen before.
Dan Cadman, a member of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), said the Chinese regime was behind the exploitation of international student visa policies for the purpose of industrial and military espionage.
According to an opinion column on the American Greatness website, “From Nixon’s visit to China in 1972 to Deng Xiaoping’s sweeping economic reforms, the United States assumed that capital success, American investment, and expansion of diplomatic relations inevitably would lead to a democratized China that embraced the United States.”
The article’s authors, Robert S. Spalding and Zachary Glanz, both experts on China, argue that the idea of a “further investment and economic relations would contribute to reducing the CCP’s ideologies is to once again repeat the mistakes that let China prosper without democratic commitments in the first place.”
For Spalding and Glanz, U.S. academia represents one of the sectors that has assumed such a ‘false belief,’ alluding to a Washington Post column titled “China is not an enemy,” in which U.S. academics minimized China’s military growth while questioning the United States presence in the South Pacific.
The article, which is based on a letter to President Donald Trump, also questions “a lack of concern for China’s exploitation of American economic cooperation.”
Another Washington Post opinion article also quoted Spalding and Glanz, pointed out that market-oriented reforms, the transfer of Uighur Muslims to detention camps, cybertheft, the weakening of Taiwanese democracy, and the imposition of autocracy in Hong Kong, are signs of the deterioration of relations between the Trump administration and China and have the Chinese regime as the main culprit.
Regarding the way China administers politics in its territory and imparts the ideology of the Communist Party, limiting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and constitutional democracy, the general opinion of American scholars is that fighting such authoritarianism and the expansion of China’s soft power would affect American interests, Spalding and Glanz said.
The Chinese regime’s reach into U.S. educational institutions would also have a close relationship with government officials.
According to Spalding and Glanz, Susan A. Thorton, a former State Department diplomat and acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, is one example of U.S. officials who are vulnerable to China’s soft power, especially now that she is a senior researcher at Yale University’s Paul Tsai China Center, which is funded by the Chinese multinational Alibaba.
Last year, China decided to send officials to some of the country’s largest private companies in an effort to “foster communication and help businesses carry forward key projects,” according to CNN Business. Among those selected was Alibaba, which financed Yale with $30 million.
As Spalding and Glanz pointed out in their opinion article, Dr. Charles Lieber, chairman of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology, was arrested for failing to disclose his involvement as a “strategic scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology from 2012 to 2017. Lieber was also a participant in China’s Thousand Talents Program.
Spalding and Glanz also explain that in relation to Thorton’s support for China, the evidence became stronger once he showed open opposition to the FBI after it sought an arrest for four Chinese State Security officials.
These officials are known to have put pressure on Chinese dissident Guo Wengui, a well-known businessman who exposed corruption within the Chinese Communist Party.
Guo also warned that China had mobilized pro-Chinese individuals in the United States as part of a campaign to remove President Trump from power in the 2020 elections. Guo, who fled China in 2015, began exposing secrets of high-level Communist Party members in 2017.