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Armed Services Committee Passes Waltz Amendments to Protect Taxpayer-Funded Research from Chinese Espionage

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – On Wednesday, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee unanimously passed two of Rep. Michael Waltz’s (R-Fla.) amendments to the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to protect federally-funded research from Chinese espionage.  

“The United States faces the greatest adversary we have ever known in China,” Waltz said. “For years, the Chinese Communist Party has infiltrated our colleges and universities, using them to steal sensitive scientific research and information. America can no longer be a safe harbor for blatant espionage and intellectual property theft – and I’m glad this is a bipartisan concern across the Armed Services Committee.”

Waltz’s amendments would create a federal standard for requiring researchers to disclose foreign funding sources in federal grant applications, enhance enforcement authorities for federal agencies and require the U.S. Secretary of Defense to develop and maintain a list of foreign talent recruitment programs posing a threat to national security.

China’s foreign talent recruitment program, commonly referred to as the Thousand Talents Program, incentivizes Chinese nationals to gain access to American research and transmit it back to the Chinese government.

Examples of this espionage have been found at America’s top research institutions, including the Moffitt Cancer Center and the University of Florida. In January of this year, Harvard University Professor Charles Lieber was indicted and accused of lying about his participation in the Thousand Talents Program. The state-sponsored Wuhan University of Technology reportedly paid him $50,000 per month and gave him $1.5 million to establish a nanoscience research lab in mainland China.

The amendments can be found here and here.