Ted Cruz Sounds the Alarm on Chinese Communist Party Espionage at the University of Texas at Austin

Texas Senator Ted Cruz raised alarms about a potential Chinese Communist Party espionage plot at the University of Texas at Austin.

Cruz tweeted, “BREAKING: FBI suspects Chinese Communist Government espionage of #COVID19 research from Texas’ @UTAustin.

This is exactly why the U.S. needs to fundamentally reassess the US-China relationship. We cannot continue to allow the CCP to continue spying & stealing from the U.S.”

The Houston Chronicle reported that the FBI is investigating if the Chinese government made an attempt to illegally obtain Wuhan virus research from American universities, which includes the University of Texas campuses at Austin and San Antonio, according to UT officials’ confirmation to the Chronicle.

The FBI informed UT Austin officials last week that the shutdown of the Chinese Consulate in Houston kicked off the probe. UT’s interim executive vice president and provost Daniel Jaffe emailed the university’s faculty, graduate and post-doctorate students about this update on July 27, 2020.

After this “ongoing and evolving national situation,” the FBI will reach out to UT researchers “about the role of the consulate and efforts by the Chinese government to illegally procure research from American universities,” Jaffe stated.The University of Texas at San Antonio was also contacted by the FBI.

Bernard Arulanandam, vice president for research, economic development and knowledge enterprise at UTSA, recounted in an email to faculty and students that the FBI informed the university on July 22 about concerns regarding the consulate’s role and Chinese government’s attempts to obtain intellectual property from U.S. colleges.

In their email updates to their respective faculties and student bodies, both Jaffe and Arulanandam said they did not know who would receive the contact from the FBI or for what reason.

“It’s not unusual for federal law enforcement officers to ask to speak with researchers if deemed necessary to support criminal or national security investigations,” Jaffe wrote in his email to the UT-Austin community.

During a July 24 teleconference briefing on the consulate’s closure, U.S. government officials said the Chinese consulate in Houston was connected to an investigation of grant fraud at a Texas research institution, but no university was specifically named.

“Consulate officials were directly involved in communications with researchers and guided them on what information to collect,” a Justice Department official stated during that teleconference.

A State Department official continued, “If you look at what happened with the corona outbreak in China in 2019, they have been very clear about their intent to be the first to the … market with a vaccine and the medical connections here aren’t lost on me.”

A network of individuals connected to China’s military hid their military affiliation when they applied for student visas, according to a report from U.S. government officials.

The Justice Department indicted two suspected Chinese hackers, asserting that they had singled out U.S. companies conducting Wuhan virus research.

Government officials have voiced concerns in 2020 about consulates using spy networks on campuses “that report on fellow students.”

Given the extensive nature of Chinese espionage, policymakers need to strongly consider imposing heightened restrictions on Chinese migration from here on out.

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