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Portman report accuses China of theft of US intellectual property

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman unveiled a report with U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, a Delaware Democrat, that details how American taxpayers have been unwittingly funding China’s economy and military over the past 20 years while federal agencies have done little to stop it.

The report, titled “Threats to the U.S. Research Enterprise: China’s Talent Recruitment Plans,” was released Monday by Portman, a Cincinnati-area Republican, and Carper. They are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

The report contends that since the late 1990s, China has recruited U.S.-based scientists and researchers and had them transfer U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property for China’s gain in exchange for money, research funding and laboratory space.

The report details “not only the lengths and expense China has gone to in order to steal American intellectual property, but also the shocking fact that our own federal agencies have done little to stop their actions despite being aware of China’s talent plans,” Portman said.

The eight-month investigation by the subcommitee examined seven federal agencies and their attempts to fight the theft of U.S. taxpayer-funded research and technology through Chinese recruitment programs. The report showed the agencies had no plan to combat this effort. Among the agencies reviewed were the FBI, the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, the State Department and the Department of Commerce.

The report contends China recruited 7,000 U.S. researchers and scientists who focus on cutting-edge research and technology, and that the U.S. government was slow to address the threat.

The report recommends U.S. agencies develop a comprehensive plan to stop illegal and extralegal transfer of U.S. intellectual property, research and technologies.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com