US doubles down on protecting university research from China


    OAKLAND, Calif./WASHINGTON. – A US national security commission is recommending that American universities take steps to prevent sensitive technology from being stolen by the Chinese military, a sign of growing concerns over the security of academic research.

    The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), led by former Google chairman Eric Schmidt, is set to vote Monday on its final report to Congress. A new section on university research was added to a recently published final draft, which also features numerous recommendations in areas including competition in artificial intelligence and the semiconductor supply chain.

    The fresh recommendations come as the United States pushes ahead with the prosecution of at least five Chinese researchers arrested last year in various cities across the US on charges of visa fraud for not disclosing ties to the Chinese military.

    Among those arrested was Chen Song, a former Stanford University visiting scholar in neurology who faces charges including obstruction of justice, destruction of records, and making false statements to a government agency. She pleaded not guilty at an arraignment last week in the United States District Court Northern District of California.

    “Dr. Song is a physician. She was here to do medical research that would have benefited stroke victims in the United States had she been allowed to complete her work,” her lawyer, Ed Swanson, said in an e-mail.

    Other cases involve Juan Tang, a visiting researcher at UC Davis School of Medicine; Xin Wang, a visiting researcher at UC San Francisco who was working on projects related to metabolism and obesity; Kaikai Zhao, a PhD student studying AI and machine learning at Indiana University in Bloomington; and Lei Guan, who worked as a researcher at UCLA’s mathematics department.

    Stanford, UCSF, and UC Davis all said they are cooperating with the authorities on the investigations. University of Indiana did not reply to request for comment and UCLA was not immediately available.

    China has denied allegations it was trying to steal US research. – Reuters