Sharing Academic Research Could Be Deadly, as China Develops Bioweapons

February 13, 2020 Updated: February 18, 2020

Commentary

The Chinese Communist Party has signed the Biological Weapons Convention, but they don’t mean it. The regime is working on bioweapons, and the killer virus emanating from China may prove that, according to Stephen Mosher in an op-ed for The Epoch Times:

“The vice president of China’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences, He Fuchu, said in 2015 that biomaterials were the new ‘strategic commanding heights’ of warfare. People’s Liberation Army (PLA) General Zhang Shibo went even further in his 2017 book, ‘War’s New High Land,’ claiming that ‘modern biotechnology development is gradually showing strong signs characteristic of an offensive capability,’ including the potential for ‘specific ethnic genetic attacks.’

“To be perfectly clear, what General Zhang is talking about are bioweapons that kill other races, but for which people who look like him have a natural or acquired immunity.”

The Chinese claim hegemony over all people whose ancestry goes back to the mainland, and increasingly in recent years, the Communist Party has employed people who have no ethnic ties with the Chinese. The classic case in point is professor Charles Lieber, head of the chemistry department at Harvard.

Lieber, who has been described as “one of the most distinguished scientists of our time,” received undisclosed seven-digit payments after he agreed to work as a “strategic scientist” at the Wuhan Institute of Technology between 2012 and 2017, according to his indictment.

Lieber’s indictment was announced at the same time as that of another academic, Zaosong Zheng, who was admitted to the United States in 2018 to conduct cancer research at Beth Israel Medical Center in Boston. He was arrested the following year for attempting to smuggle research samples out of the country.

There also was a plot to smuggle U.S. semiconductor chips to China. The scheme was masterminded by University of California–Los Angeles professor Yi-Chi Shih, who knew the chips were most useful for their use in missiles and combat aircraft. Shih was convicted of all 18 counts in a federal indictment last year and faces a statutory maximum sentence of 219 years in prison.

There are countless Chinese plots and schemes to steal U.S. methods and know-how, and seemingly countless Chinese agents in the hunt. In keeping with the wreckage of our once-great university system, our top administrators boast of our openness to enemy penetration.

College presidents like to boast of the openness of the system, and view with suspicion anyone who wants to restrict access to secret research.

“Our greatest strength is our openness,” California Institute of Technology President Thomas Rosenbaum claimed during an interview with NBC News, while Robert Daly, who heads the Wilson Center’s Kissinger Institute on China, compares suspicion of Chinese espionage to McCarthyism.

In addition, Lee Bollinger, president of Columbia University, has written an op-ed arguing that while it is important and right to maintain American control over research in areas such as cybersecurity and bioterrorism, “academic research is intended to be shared.”

Thus, it’s wrong for the United States to pursue student spies. It’s fine for the Chinese to use the stolen results of American academic research, but wrong for U.S. universities to keep those results for U.S. purposes.

China is simply the most dramatic case in point, and universities are but one of countless targets for their espionage. Similar stories could be told about Russia, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea, and their targets throughout our government-funded research facilities.

The Chinese story is the most important, because they are in full command of their system, and they are loaded with talent. The Iranians, on the other hand, can’t get a rocket into orbit; they have just accomplished a third consecutive failed launch.

On the other hand, we can’t seem to do counterintelligence, despite having spent nearly 80 years combating the KGB and the GRU. How is that? We’d best get it right, or we will have to combat biological weapons delivered by Communist China, courtesy of our system of university research, placed at their service.

Academic research isn’t intended to be shared. Certainly not all of it.

Michael Ledeen is a freedom scholar at Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He has served as a consultant to the National Security Council and the departments of State and Defense, and as a special adviser to the secretary of state. He is the author of 35 books, most recently “Field of Fight: How to Win the War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies,” co-authored with retired Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.