One of the few areas of bipartisan agreement in Washington is that it’s time to respond to Chinese economic and military aggression. The need is underscored by a sobering report from the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations titled “Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans.” The report documents how China exploits our culture encouraging the open exchange of science in order to achieve their commercial and military objectives. In its editorial, “China’s Bid on American Science,” The Wall Street Journal aptly summarizes the report: “It found the U.S. government is funding research for hundreds of scientists at American universities and labs who are effectively under contract to turn over their findings to China.” No nation can allow others to steal its cutting-edge technologies. While we must effectively respond to China and others looking to do us harm, we must avoid inadvertently undermining the policies which made us the leader in turning government funded R&D into highly innovative products. Unfortunately, an initial agency response is not reassuring on that score.
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