EXCLUSIVE: Sen. Cotton To Re-Introduce Bill Cracking Down On Chinese Spying In American Universities

(Photo by Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images)

Michael Ginsberg Congressional Correspondent
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Republican Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton will re-introduce the SECURE CAMPUS Act on Thursday, his office confirmed to the Daily Caller.

First introduced in 2020, the SECURE CAMPUS Act prohibits Chinese nationals from receiving student or research visas to participate in graduate or post-graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies at American universities. It also imposes more stringent reporting requirements for universities that receive federal funding.

“Allowing China unfettered access to American research institutions is as senseless as granting Soviet scientists access to our critical laboratories during the Cold War. We shouldn’t allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit the openness of American research institutions any longer. The SECURE CAMPUS Act will help stop Chinese nationals from stealing U.S. technology, which the CCP uses against our own troops and businesses,” Cotton told the Daily Caller.

Cotton noted multiple instances of Chinese spying as the impetus for the legislation, which his office described as “a troubling pattern of behavior.” He pointed to the case of Simon Ang, a University of Arkansas professor who was indicted in July 2020 for wire fraud. Ang allegedly failed to disclose money and gifts he received from Chinese companies and the Chinese government while accepting research funding from NASA.

Cotton also noted the January 2020 indictments of Yanqing Ye and Zaosong Zheng. Both entered the United States on J-1 research visas. However, Ye was a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army and used her position at Boston University’s Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering to access American military science projects. Zheng admitted to stealing vials from a Boston-area hospital, which he claimed he would use for his own research.

The bill does allow the Secretary of State to issue waivers to the ban for “members of a religious or ethnic group that is systematically oppressed by the Chinese Communist Party.” It also allows the president to issue a waiver if banning a prospective student would harm the United States’ national security, although the president must then issue a report explaining that determination to Congress. (RELATED: Rubio, Coons Introduce Bill Prioritizing Uyghurs For Refugee Status In Response To Genocide)

The bill will be co-sponsored by Republican Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Republican Alabama Sen. Tommy Tuberville. Republican Tennessee Rep. David Kustoff will introduce companion legislation in the House of Representatives. Blackburn and Kustoff co-sponsored the 2020 version of the legislation as well.

Read the bill here:

Cotton Secure Campus by Michael Ginsberg