Republican North Carolina Rep. Gregory Murphy is calling on Attorney General Merrick Garland to continue a program that targets Chinese spying efforts against American colleges and universities.
The program, called the China Initiative, works to identify Chinese funding sources and prevent intellectual property theft and other forms of espionage. Since the initiative’s inception in 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has charged dozens of individuals who have lied about funding sources, as well as stolen trade secrets and intellectual property. However, opponents of the program claim that it constitutes “racial profiling” and “disproportionately targets researchers of Chinese origin.” (RELATED: More Than A Dozen Researchers And Professors At US Universities Have Been Arrested For Ties To The Chinese Government)
“The CCP has a long history of using American universities in order to conduct espionage campaigns,” Murphy wrote Wednesday in a letter to Garland, obtained exclusively by the Daily Caller. “These efforts by the CCP must be fully investigated and any U.S. academics who engage in these efforts must be prosecuted under the fullest extent of the law.”
Garland revealed during October testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee that Matt Olsen, the Assistant Attorney General heading up the DOJ’s national security division, would review every program under his supervision. The China Initiative is included in that description.
“As China continues to use its soft power to infiltrate our institutions, the Department of Justice must use all available resources to continue its China Initiative to root out any potential Chinese espionage,” Murphy told the Daily Caller. “The Biden Administration must recognize that the CCP is the greatest threat we face on the world stage and take swift and immediate action to safeguard our education system from China’s malign influence. Terminating the China Initiative would undoubtedly threaten our national security and will allow China to continue its practice of espionage in our colleges and universities. I look forward to hearing back from Attorney General as soon as possible.”
Several Republicans have introduced legislation designed to crack down on Chinese influence operations. Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton introduced a bill in April 2021 that would increase reporting requirements for universities, as well as prevent Chinese nationals from receiving visas that would allow them to participate in graduate or post-graduate science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) studies at American universities. Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr proposed new sanctions in September against companies that work to implement Chinese state surveillance programs.
Read the letter here: