Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) has introduced legislation with the aim of stopping the Chinese regime from plundering U.S. intellectual property and trade secrets—by denying visas to people with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
Named the Stop China’s IP Theft Act, the bill would prohibit the issuing of visas to senior officials in the CCP, including those in the Politburo, a group of the Party’s 25 most elite members; the Central Committee, comprising the key leadership; delegates to the 19th rubber-stamp legislature, the National People’s Congress; and spouses and children of those officials.
Also banned are active-duty members of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army, and members of the central government’s cabinet.
“China has a long history of stealing intellectual property,” Lesko said in a Nov. 17 statement from her office.
“It is my hope that by curtailing entry of key Chinese officials and their families into the United States, we can send a message to China and the Chinese Communist Party that we will no longer tolerate the theft of American intellectual property.”
The Trump administration, especially through Department of Justice prosecutions, has in recent years cracked down on IP thefts from U.S. firms to benefit China.
🚨I am introducing the Stop China’s IP Theft Act to prevent key Chinese officials and their families from entering the U.S. until we can certify that the People’s Republic of China has stopped their efforts to steal U.S. intellectual property.https://t.co/m0qHJ6Zr4f
— Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (@RepDLesko) November 17, 2020
The ban would be lifted once the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) certifies to the Judiciary committees in both the House and Senate that the Chinese regime has “ceased sponsoring, funding, facilitating, and actively working to support efforts to infringe on the intellectual property rights of citizens and companies of the United States,” according to the statement.
The measure is co-sponsored by Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), Jody Hice (R-Ga.), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Denver Riggleman (R-Va.), and Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.).
DNI Director John Ratcliffe, who was confirmed to the role in May, told Fox News in August that “China poses a greater national security threat to the U.S. than any other nation—economically, militarily, and technologically. That includes threats of election influence and interference.”
Ratcliffe’s predecessor, Dan Coats, expressed similar concerns during a Senate hearing in January 2019.
“China’s pursuit of intellectual property, sensitive research and development plans, and the U.S. person data remains a significant threat to the United States government and the private sector,” Coats said.
To prevent IP theft, the Trump administration has increased scrutiny over Chinese nationals who apply to study in the United States.
In September, the State Department announced that it revoked more than 1,000 visas of Chinese nationals over their military links. President Donald Trump had earlier in May issued a proclamation to limit visa issuances over potential IP theft concerns.
For example, Song Chen, a visiting Chinese researcher at Stanford University, was charged with visa fraud for allegedly failing to disclose her relationship with the Chinese military in July. According to court documents, she was found to be affiliated with both the PLA Air Force and the Fourth Military Medical University.