Chinese researchers quit U.S.; agents target Biden team: U.S. officials

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In this news, we discuss the Chinese researchers quit U.S.; agents target Biden team: U.S. officials.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More than 1,000 Chinese researchers have left the United States amid a US crackdown on alleged technology theft, senior US security officials said on Wednesday, adding that Chinese agents had already targeted the new Biden administration.

John Demers, head of the US Department of Justice’s national security division, said in a discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute think tank that the researchers had left the country while the department launched several criminal proceedings against Chinese agents for industrial and technological espionage.

A Department of Justice official said it was a different group from those mentioned by the State Department in September, when it said the United States had revoked the visas of more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed to be a security risk.

The official said the researchers mentioned by Demers, who U.S. authorities believed to be affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, fled the United States after the FBI conducted interviews in more than 20 cities and the State Department closed the Chinese consulate in Houston in July.

“Only the Chinese have the resources, the capacity and the will” to engage in the scale of foreign influence activity that US agencies have seen in recent years, Demers said.

William Evanina, head of the counter-intelligence branch of the office of the US director of national intelligence, said at the same event that Chinese agents were already targeting staff in President-elect Joe Biden’s new administration, as well as “people close to” from Biden’s team. .

He didn’t elaborate.

Evanina said that Chinese researchers in the United States who were under the control of American agencies “all come here at the request of the Chinese government.”

China described the visa crackdown earlier this year as “naked” political persecution and racial discrimination that gravely violated human rights.

China-U.S. Relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during the tenure of outgoing US President Donald Trump, with disputes simmering over issues ranging from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

Reporting by Mark Hosenball; edited by David Brunnstrom, Leslie Adler, Sandra Maler and Tom Brown

Original © Thomson Reuters Corporation

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