WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Chinese institutes on U.S. campuses (all times local):
U.S. intelligence and security officials are voicing concerns to a Senate judiciary panel that Chinese students might exploit access to universities to gather intelligence and sensitive research.
Joseph Morosco, a senior counterintelligence official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, says academics and researchers from Russia and Iran also pose a risk.
But he voiced particular concern Wednesday about China because it is a “formidable” economic competitor of the U.S. and seeks to acquire critical technology and expertise to further its scientific and military modernization.
Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin says the U.S. already has ample legal authority to reject foreign student applications to prevent espionage and illegal activity.
He says the wrongdoing of a few individuals should not “cast a shadow over any group of international students.”
As tensions between the U.S. and China rise over trade and security, perceptions vary wildly about educational exchanges that have thrived since diplomatic relations were normalized four decades ago.
Increasingly, U.S. authorities are concerned that Chinese professors and students could exploit access to universities to gather intelligence and sensitive research — an issue a Senate judiciary panel will address Wednesday. And while the China-funded Confucius Institutes that have mushroomed worldwide since 2004 focus on benign subject matter, U.S. lawmakers are pushing for them to be more tightly regulated or even shuttered.
The debate over Confucius Institutes has become a testing ground for the American response to China’s growing global reach, and underscores anxieties over the more than 350,000 Chinese who study in the United States, more than one third of all foreign students.