Chinese researchers leave US; agents target Biden team

WION Web Team
Washington, DC, United States of America Published: Dec 03, 2020, 09.31 AM(IST)

Sino US relations Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

The US-China relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during outgoing American President Donald Trump's tenure with disputes simmering over issues from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

Over 1,000 Chinese researchers have left the United States amid a US crackdown on alleged technology theft, top US security officials have said.

The US-China relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during outgoing American President Donald Trump's tenure with disputes simmering over issues from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

On Wednesday, John Demers, chief of the US Justice Department's National Security Division, told a discussion hosted by the Aspen Institute think tank the researchers had left the country while the department launched multiple criminal cases against Chinese operatives for industrial and technological espionage.

They were, however, a different group from those mentioned by the State Department in September, when it said the United States had revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks.

US authorities believed these researchers fled the United States after the FBI conducted interviews in more than 20 cities and the State Department closed China’s Houston consulate in July.

William Evanina, chief of the counterintelligence branch of the office of the US Director of National Intelligence, told the same event Chinese agents were already targetting personnel of the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, as well as "people close" to Biden's team.

She added Chinese researchers in the United States who were under scrutiny of US agencies were "all coming here at the behest of the Chinese government."

China described the visa crackdown earlier this year as "naked" political persecution and racial discrimination that seriously violated human rights.

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