The Federal Government is asleep at the wheel when it comes to Chinese influence on our future and our economy.
This from the Australian.
The Chinese government is actively recruiting leading Australian scientists for a secretive research program that offers lucrative salaries and perks but requires their inventions to be patented in China and obliges them to abide by Chinese law.
An investigation by The Australian has revealed dozens of leading scientists at major universities across the country have been recruited to a Chinese government program called the Thousand Talents Plan, which FBI director Christopher Wray describes as economic espionage and a national security threat.
The Australian’s investigation shows that, in many instances, Australian academics have been named in Chinese patent applications despite their Australian universities being unaware of their involvement.
Academics targeted globally under the Thousand Talents Plan may have a field of research with a military application, sparking the risk the Chinese government is misusing their inventions and technology for military advancement and even to develop weapons.
When told about The Australian’s revelations, Andrew Hastie — chair of parliament’s joint intelligence committee — called for a parliamentary inquiry.
Mr Hastie said the revelations demonstrated how national research and intellectual property was “being plundered by the CCP”.
In many of the cases uncovered, universities did not know about academics’ connections to the Thousand Talents Plan and patents lodged in China prior to The Australian presenting the evidence.
UNSW said that at no time had one of its Thousand Talents Plan recipients, Joe Dong, “sold or relinquished patents to any Chinese power companies”.
When presented with evidence that Professor Dong was named in patents lodged with the National Intellectual Property Administration of China just last year, the UNSW spokeswoman said this was done “without his knowledge” and “was in line with the academic culture in China at the time”.
Alongside his salary from UNSW, his institute there has received $15m in Australian government and Australian Research Council funding. But he has also received funding from his Thousand Talents scholarship through the Chinese government’s second largest energy company, China Southern Grid. It paid for Professor Dong to hire researchers at UNSW. He also ran a research program for the company at the university. China’s People’s Daily stated in 2017 that Professor Dong was head of Changsha University of Science and Technology’s School of Electrical and Information Engineering and was part of the Thousand Talents Plan.
Thousand Talents Plan contracts usually legally require the copyright for any research or inventions connected with the program to be registered in China — irrespective of whether the research has been done in Australia or includes Australian funding. In return, academics receive a second salary commonly worth more than $150,000 plus lucrative research grants that can stretch into the millions from a Chinese-affiliated university.
There are a suite of other perks including education for their children, housing allowances and jobs for their spouses.
The Australian’s revelations show the widespread infiltration of Australia’s universities by the Chinese Communist Party, with almost every major institution complicit through its inaction in allowing China to be the beneficiary of its research and inventions.
The Australian can publish the names of more than 30 academics who have been recruited to the Thousand Talents Plan or another similar Chinese government recruitment program, or have registered their intellectual property in China.
In one case uncovered by The Australian, Curtin University’s Optus Chair of Artificial Intelligence, Brad Yu, who has received large amounts of Australian and US government funding, has been working at China’s Hangzhou Dianzi University.
Dianzi is designated “high-risk” for its level of Chinese military defence research. It has two major defence laboratories, five designated defence research areas and holds secret security credentials, “allowing it to undertake classified weapons and defence technology projects”.
Professor Yu specialises in drone automation and artificial intelligence, and has been working on an area of intense interest to the Chinese government: aerial warfare and co-ordinating thousands of unmanned aerial vehicles to co-operate in the air.
Chinese-language reports state he is part of Chinese government recruitment programs including the Qianjiang Scholar of Zhejiang Provincial Talents program and the Taishan Scholars Project, Shandong Province.
Despite being on full-time pay at Curtin, where he receives a 60 per cent loading on a professor’s salary and his research institute has been funded to the tune of $4m, The Australian understands he has spent most of the year in China. After The Australian contacted him and Curtin University, Professor Yu’s Hangzhou Dianzi profile became unavailable for public view.
More via the link to the Australian