Chairman Warner, Ranking Member Rubio, members of the Committee: Thank you for the opportunity to testify. Perhaps no other issue is as controversial or challenging as the one we are discussing today. It is wrapped up in the fundamental feelings we have as Americans regarding democracy, opportunity, capitalism, open markets and the importance of immigrants throughout U.S. history.
My own grandparents were immigrants who came to this country with little forMy own grandparents were immigrants who came to this country with little formal education, worked menial jobs and made a new life for themselves. My presence here today is a testament to the American Dream. I want to start with saying that there is no room for xenophobia or ethnic profiling in the United States — it goes against everything we have stood for as a nation.
And precisely because of these values, the issues we are discussing today will make us uncomfortable as we move forward to find principled ways to mitigate the policies of a nation-state that is ever more authoritarian, does not share our values and seeks to undermine the global norms of science and commerce. These challenges are not about the concerns of one administration or the policies of one political party, but the actions of a nation-state with a different system, different regard for human rights and different view of competition. The PRC has demonstrated a will to flaunt global norms to reach its strategic goals, and has put in place policies and programs that undermine the very values we hold dear: a fair and level playing field, transparency, reciprocity and market-driven competition.1 These actions have far-reaching implications for the future of our nation and our ability to compete. On the committee’s request, my testimony today will focus on China’s use of non-traditional collectors, targeting of academia and theft of intellectual property, what is at stake and the long-term consequence of inaction. I will cover the following points:
- China is engaged in a strategic rivalry with the United States, centered on economic power. It has an all of-government strategy to target the foundation of that power—our technology and human capital.
- China’s management of its relationship with the United States, despite implementing these policies, has been designed to mask key aspects of this rivalry. This is part of what makes these discussions so difficult.
- Beijing in many ways understands our societal tensions, which include race issues, and its statecraft is directed at them, exploiting identity politics by promoting any changes in U.S. policy as ethnic profiling, offering a narrative about being merely a proponent of “development” and science, in order to divert attention from its own questionable behavior. This is a well-funded effort.2
- China has controlled the narrative despite violating the global norms of business and research, and as a result, many of the impacted groups do not recognize the growing challenge that this rivalry poses and often questions if there is actually a problem, despite the growing evidence that China is doubling down on its policies and programs.
- Beijing has made talent development and the exploitation of overseas students, universities, and government labs a central part of its technology acquisition strategy since the country’s “opening” around 1978.3
- Regardless of their personal views, Chinese scientists, businesspeople and officials have to respond to the government or security services if they are asked for information or data. China intimidates and harshly silences its critics—this has only grown more so in the past few years.4
- Our institutions were not designed to counter the threat to academic freedom and manipulation of public opinion that China’s policies and actions pose.
- China’s engagement with U.S. companies, universities and civic organizations has not led to a more open society in China or an equal playing field for Western companies in China. On the contrary, it has led to U.S. companies self-censoring themselves when it comes to human rights and issues of importance to the PRC—such as Taiwan—and U.S. universities accepting limits on academic freedom and freedom of speech. This is evidenced by those that criticize the Chinese government being denied visas and also more recently the harassment of foreign journalists.5
- Extreme propositions, such as closing our eyes (laissez faire) or closing our doors, only benefit China—the latter by discrediting en masse all efforts to address the problem and by depriving ourselves of the contributions of foreign-born scientists.
Download Full TestimonyAnna Puglisi’s Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence
- E.g., “The IP Commission Report.” The Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property (May 2013). Hannas, Mulvenon and Puglisi, Chinese Industrial Espionage. (Routledge, 2013) hereafter “CIE.” Michael Brown and Pavneet Singh, “China’s Technology Transfer Strategy” (DIUX, February 2017). Section 301 Report into China’s Acts, Policies, and Practices Related to Technology Transfer, Intellectual Property, and Innovation. Office of the United States Trade Representative (27 March 2018). U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, “2019 Annual Report to Congress” (November 2019).
- William C. Hannas and Didi Kirsten Tatlow, Beyond Espionage: China’s Quest for Foreign Technology (Routledge 1st edition, September 2020); Alex Joske, “Hunting the Phoenix,” Australian Strategic Policy Institute, 2020, https://www.aspi.org.au/report/hunting-phoenix ; Receipts of local UFWD paying overseas scientists available at: “The distribution list of provincial-level projects for the introduction of foreign intelligence special funds at the provincial level in 2018” [2018年省级引进国外智利专项经费直项目分配明细表], https://web.archive.org/web/20201112190122/http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache%3AKAaZ3LpEe4oJ%3Arst.hunan.gov.cn%2Frst%2Fxxgk%2Ftzgg%2F201802%2F9516964%2Ffiles%2Fe1c7ddd51dda49f6b70a6ad5ae9b0490.xls+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
- Roth, Kenneth “China’s Global Threat to Human Rights”, Global Report 2020
- Mann, James “The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain away Chinese Repressions” Viking 2007; Pomfret, John “What America didn’t anticipate about China” The Atlantic, 16 October 2019.