China’s Military Sends More Scholars Abroad, at Times Without Schools’ Knowledge

Kate O’Keeffe and Melissa Korn:

Scientists from China’s military are significantly expanding research collaboration with scholars from the U.S. and other technologically advanced countries, at times obscuring their affiliation from their hosts, according to a new research report and interviews with academics.

The People’s Liberation Army has sponsored more than 2,500 military scientists and engineers to study abroad over the past decade, according to research by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute. ASPI is a nonpartisan think tank that was created in 2001 by the Australian government, which is engaged in a sharp debate about Chinese Communist Party interference in its domestic affairs.

The volume of peer-reviewed articles produced by PLA scientists working with academics outside China grew nearly eight times during the same period, from 95 in 2007 to 734 last year, the report says.

In some cases, the Chinese scientists masked their ties with the PLA, enabling them to work with professors at leading universities like Carnegie Mellon without the schools’ knowledge of their military affiliation, according to Wall Street Journal interviews.