A number of years ago, I attended a conference in Boston, sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security. The keynote speaker at the final banquet was an MIT professor, who spoke about the cutting edge research that his group was doing. It related to a specialized product development using a highly sensitive technology. When he was finished explaining as much as he could about his work that wasn’t classified, he introduced his leading graduate student, who had been working closely with him on this project. The student was an exchange student from China and was about to finish his time at MIT and return home. 

I was shocked. Here was a student from a country with whom we had strained relations, a country that was vying for our place as leader of the world, and we had given away our leading edge technology to him, which he would now be taking home to China. That he no doubt had signed a non-disclosure agreement with MIT was irrelevant. This was China and they didn’t care.

No one around me seemed to share my outrage, and it’s taken all these years for our government, which has been sponsoring these ‘exchange’ students, to finally understand how much of a threat this has been.  

President Trump brought this question into the light when he accused China of stealing billions of dollars of intellectual property from American companies and institutions. He revealed that they re-engineered it in China, and then undersold it around the world, competing with the very companies that had spent millions to develop their technology, protect it with patents, and market it. It cost America hundreds of billions of dollars every year – and it’s been going on for decades.

And now, with the Chinese plague having turned our country upside down, costing more than 140,000 lives to date, and sickening more than four million people, they have now been trying to steal our R&D into a vaccine and a cure for this virus. 

They were discovered and their consulate in Houston was ordered closed within 72 hours. In response, the staff immediately went about burning documents at an enormous rate, in the courtyard of their building, The fires, tended in multiple barrels, was so fierce that the police and fire departments were called to the scene. But they were not allowed in.  

Intelligence sources say that the documents that they burned were not only evidence of espionage into industrial and biotechnology trade secrets, but also records of payments made to Antifa to support the rioting in major US cities. 

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, Tang Juan, a Chinese national, was arrested. She was working as a researcher at the University of California-Davis, as part of a cancer treatment research program. She was taken into custody on July 23, after she tried to hide in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. 

Tang is one of four Chinese nationals who have been arrested for visa fraud, but are suspected of the larger crime of espionage in the potential theft of intellectual property. The four are part of a large Chinese program to infiltrate American institutions for the purpose of gaining access to critical industrial and technological knowhow, which they then steal and send back to China, in order to enable the Chinese to use the stolen technology in their own product development programs. 

It is well known in the intelligence community that the Chinese send their emissaries on innocent looking missions as exchange students or researchers, but with the commitment to send back to the Chinese government the research that they have sworn to their US sponsors to keep confidential.

The Chinese government is playing a deep game of espionage in their quest for global supremacy, and they will, it seems, stop at nothing to achieve it. Not only do they sponsor a large program of industrial and technological espionage, but they are also suspected of funding organizations like Antifa, in an effort to destabilize their chief rival, the United States. 

China has now retaliated to the Houston closure by demanding the closure of the US Consulate in Chengdu. Chengdu is the capital of China’s southwest Sichuan province and the Chinese said that the United States was using the consulate to interfere in China’s internal affairs, although they weren’t specific.

China said the US had “unilaterally provoked the incident” by ordering the Houston consulate closed. Beijing said that this “seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations.” A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the US decision was based on “a hodgepodge of anti-Chinese lies”.

In a more formal statement, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said, ”The current situation between China and the United States is something China does not want to see, and the responsibility rests entirely with the United States . . . . We once again urge the US to immediately revoke the erroneous decision to create necessary conditions for the return of bilateral relations to normal.”

This is a typical Chinese response to American accusations of spying, blaming the US for unreasonable actions that violate some law or mutual understanding. They take no responsibility for their own bad behavior and put the blame on whoever has offended them or interfered with their subversive activities.  As Secretary of State Pompeo recently said, “The Communists always lie.”

This is only the latests chapter in an unfolding saga between the US and China. China is playing out its long-held ambition to be the only leader in the world of nations, and will do whatever is necessary to accomplish that goal. Their support of Antifa to destabilize our cities is another one of their activities that will need to be addressed. Subversion by a foreign power should not be tolerated under any circumstances. And so we will see a growing tension between the US and China. 

America has a lot more house cleaning to do. The Chinese spies among us are far from gone. So stay tuned. This is far from over.

Image: AP