In an op-ed published on Tuesday, Congressman John Katko, a Republican from New York, warned that China is using our technology against us.
The piece, which appeared on Fox News, focused on how China has “sought to undermine American intellectual property by targeting our academic institutions, conducting cyber espionage, and forcing the transfer of technology” for years.
Katko’s concern arises from China’s recent test of hypersonic nuclear-capable missiles. In October, The Daily Wire reported that “Communist China tested a nuclear-capable hypersonic missile late this summer that circled the planet before taking aim at its target; a test that has stunned the Biden administration.”
In his op-ed, Katko, who is a ranking member on the House Committee on Homeland Security, writes that the CCP “actively engages” Chinese students before they come to the U.S. for their education and “encourag[es] them to carry out specific missions.”
“While these types of foreign espionage campaigns have been happening for decades, the stakes with China are now simply too high for inaction,” Katko writes. “In 2020, a Chinese professor at the University of California, Los Angeles was convicted of shipping banned missile technology back to China. A Chinese student at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology was charged last year with helping to recruit spies for the Chinese intelligence services. And a Chinese professor conducting sensitive research at the University of Kansas was indicted in August 2020 on charges that he concealed his ties to a Chinese university.”
For Katko, these instances of alleged Chinese espionage should sound warning bells to the U.S. government, and he discusses his ideas for fighting back against the CCP. His main steps for fighting back focus on immigration and screening laws. “Mainly, we should take a hard look at our process for screening and vetting visa recipients,” he writes.
“The CCP is clearly aiming to exploit our visa system and use it not only to their benefit, but also to our detriment,” says Katko. He suggests that to prevent this, the U.S. should reduce the time period it gives on its visas to Chinese nationals. “The current 10-year visas are ripe for abuse, and a more reasonable time frame would allow for greater visibility into who is entering the country and why,” Katko writes.
Katko’s second suggestion is implementing the Electronic Visa Update System for students and researchers. He writes, “Enrollment in this web-based system, which is already required for those on tourism and business visas, would give us a better understanding of who is in our country, what they are studying, and where they are conducting research. Currently, none of this information is updated after a visa is initially issued – undoubtedly creating blind spots and vulnerabilities.”
The op-ed concludes with a reminder of the importance of the competition between the U.S. and China, and also with a clear call to fight back against China using our technology. “The great powers’ competition between the U.S. and China will determine the future of the world as we know it. From exploiting U.S. academic institutions, to its military buildup in the South China Sea, to debt-trap diplomacy, to its genocide of the Uyghurs in the Xinjiang province, the CCP has shown it will stop at nothing to achieve its geopolitical goals. Countering China will take sustained, clear-eyed focus in the days and years ahead. Ensuring our sensitive information is not being transmitted to the CCP under the guise of academic advancement should be job one.”