From when China opened up in the 1970s until now, millions of Chinese students have studied overseas and have achieved great things. China seeks to recruit and use these talented individuals, invested in and trained by the West, to directly bring back to China the technology and economic information they’ve acquired. This aids the CCP’s ambitions in gaining global supremacy. Since 2008, multiple departments in China have initiated the Thousand Talents Program. On the surface, it’s about recruiting top Chinese talent overseas to return to China for full- or short-term positions. But the real goal behind the program is for state industry to get its hands on new technology and intellectual property from the West.
The FBI released a declassified document about these Chinese talent programs in September 2015. It concludes that recruiting target individuals can allow China to profit in three ways: gaining access to research and expertise in cutting-edge technology, benefiting from years of scientific research conducted in the United States and supported by U.S. government grants and private funding, and severely impacting the U.S. economy.
The National Institute of Health released a report on the Chinese talent programs on December 13, 2018, noting that foreign nationals transferred U.S. intellectual property to their native countries while on the U.S. government payroll. Their actions have unfairly impacted all
U.S. academic institutions. M. Roy Wilson, one of the authors of the report and co-chair of the NIH Advisory Committee, said that a key qualification of becoming part of the Thousand Talents Program is having access to valuable intellectual property. He said that the problem was significant, not random, and that the severity of the intellectual property losses was impossible to ignore.
Peter Harrell, adjunct senior fellow in the energy, economics, and security program at the Center for a New American Security, said: “China is pursuing a whole-of-society approach to its technological capabilities. That includes purchasing innovative companies through overseas investments, requiring Western companies to transfer cutting-edge technologies to China as a condition of market access, providing vast state resources to finance domestic technological development, financing training for top Chinese students and researchers overseas, and paying a hefty premium to attract talent back to China.”
The Thousand Talents Program includes as its targets almost all Chinese students who have come to the United States since the 1980s and who find themselves with access to useful information for the regime’s industrial, technological, and economic development — potentially tens of thousands of individuals. The CCP is mobilizing the capacity of the entire country and population to conduct unrestricted warfare in its recruitment of talent and intellectual properties.
From Chapter Eighteen
The Chinese Communist Party’s Global Ambitions