News

Law & the Courts

FBI Investigating Theft of U.S. Biomedical Research by Scientists Linked to China

Seal on the Edgar Hoover Federal Bureau of Investigation Building in Washington, D.C. (Jim Bourg/Reuters)

The FBI in conjunction with the National Institute of Health is investigating the theft of U.S. biomedical research by scientists with links to China, according to the New York Times.

71 institutions, including some of the top medical research facilities in the U.S., are looking into 180 individual cases of possible intellectual property theft. Almost all of the individuals under investigation are of Chinese descent, some of them naturalized American citizens.

So far, 24 of those cases have been referred to the NIH inspector general with evidence of criminal activity.

“It seems to be hitting every discipline in biomedical research,” said Dr. Michael Lauer, deputy director for extramural research at the N.I.H.

Some of those under investigation have obtained Chinese patents for work owned by U.S. institutions and funded by the U.S. government, while others are suspected of duplicating U.S. research in secret laboratories in China. Redacted emails provided to the Times showed researchers apparently ferrying research items to China from the U.S.

“I should be able to bring the whole sets of primers to you (if I can figure out how to get a dozen tubes of frozen DNA onto an airplane),” read one email, referring to medical testing materials.

In January of this year, the U.S. Justice Department charged Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei with intellectual property theft and fraud.

Huawei poses a “dual threat to both our economic and national security, and the magnitude of these charges makes clear just how seriously the FBI takes this threat,” FBI Director Christopher Wray said at a press conference announcing the charges.

 

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.

Most Popular

Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
Elections

Buttigieg’s Hollow Military Bragging

The term “veteran” wields a strange talismanic power in American politics today; the military is almost the only institution in American life that has maintained very high favorability ratings over the past 30 years. Invocation of the sacred words “military service” invariably grants a presumed license to ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More
World

Alarmists Were Wrong about the Soleimani Strike

Two weeks ago, the United States seemed on the brink of starting another war in the Middle East after a drone strike killed Iran’s most notorious spymaster, Qasem Soleimani, as he departed an international airport in Baghdad. The shadowy general, in charge of the Iranian equivalent of the CIA, was one of the ... Read More