Florida Senator Marco Rubio, on March 17, issued a letter to caution against the Chinese government’s efforts to extract U.S. knowledge for their gain via research collaboration and education exchange.

In a letter designated to the leaders of 26 colleges and universities in Florida, the lawmaker wrote, “Beijing has a history of successful adaptation to changing political circumstances, and the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] will certainly look for ways to circumvent whatever measures we put in place.”

He elaborated, “The CCP quietly seeks to acquire cutting-edge U.S. technology and the knowledge that will give birth to the technology of the future. Much of that knowledge is unclassified and resides in our universities. Unclassified does not mean unimportant. The CCP believes that access to such knowledge will accelerate the buildup of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the CCP’s armed wing, and propel China’s state-directed economy ahead of the United States.”

Rubio warned that even vigilance should not be let loose with unclassified technology and mastery, noting that “we cannot approach academic exchange with institutions or individuals from the PRC with stars in our eyes.”

The Florida Senator reminded that China’s ruling government was worth cautioning, not China itself nor the Chinese people.

Rubio said, “China is anything but a free country, and its institutions, students, and scholars face enormous political pressure to advance the CCP’s goals through their professional activities with international partners.”

Several cases were known whereby China had successfully infiltrated higher education in Florida in recent years. and illegally stolen U.S. research and technologies

In 2017, the University of Central Florida (UCF) dismissed an electrical engineering professor who simultaneously worked for a university in Chengdu, China, linked to the PLA’s nuclear weapons program. There, he operated a lab that resembled his own in Florida.

In 2018, UCF officials began investigating another computer and electrical engineering professor and his relationship with a Chinese institution; he then left the country.

The Justice Department’s indictment of former University of Florida Professor Lin Yang was more recently last year. According to the indictment, Yang was accused of defrauding 1.75 million dollars in federal grant money from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create and disseminate imaging informatics technology while hiding a Chinese firm he owned or had.

Also, a Chinese resident, he was found taking part in a talent recruiting program operated by a university with ties to the Chinese government. He went to China in 2019 and has not returned ever since.

Rubio is also Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

He added, “I respectfully urge you to carefully review and monitor existing research relationships with the PRC under your purview, and to keep these concerns in mind as you consider any future collaboration and the national security implications thereof.”

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