According to recent reports, dozens of Australian researchers are secretly being paid by the China Communist Party through its Thousand Talents Program and many officials are concerned that this is allowing the communist regime access to vital research and patents. This includes some potentially high level military research.
Most Australian universities are not even aware that their researchers were participating in the program, as one of the demands made by China’s program is that researchers are not allowed to tell anyone of their participation. As a result, there are serious concerns about how many Australian researchers are being paid by China Communist party.
The Australian government provides financial grants to researchers to the tune of AU$780 million. The China Communist Party allegedly approaches these researchers offering money to perform similar research giving them access to anything the professors had worked on with the Australian research grants.
According to the Morning Mail, one of the clauses in the Thousand Talent’s contract reads that China “owns the copyrights of the works, inventions, patents and other intellectual properties produced by Party B (the academic) during the contract period.”
In an interview with Sky News Australia, MP Andrew Hastie, who serves as the Chair of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security, said:
“Many of our scientists indeed have contracts through the Thousand Talents program in China whereby the intellectual property, their research it appears is harvested by the Chinese state. And potentially we might be indirectly funding programs that go to military development in China, developments in artificial intelligence which could be used to enhance the unblinking eye of the Chinese surveillance state in so far as it monitors like the Uighurs in Jingjiang province and also the persecuted church.”
As a result, the Australian government has set up a Foreign Interference Task Force to investigate this issue.
Under the current legislation, what the Chinese government is doing is not technically illegal.
However, it is illegal in the US. In order to receive US research grants, academics must disclose if they are receiving funding from the Chinese government. Dozens of US researchers have been arrested over the past couple of years for allegedly not disclosing such funding. READ: Harvard professor among three charged with lying about Chinese government ties
The US Department of Justice recently arrested a Texas A&M professor, who was working with US Space projects. The government alleges that he secretly participated in China’s Thousand Talents Program. READ: NASA Researcher Arrested for False Statements and Wire Fraud in Relation to China’s Talents Program