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    Arrested Chinese operative, example of ‘military-civil fusion strategy’

    Chinese operative who was arrested is an example of China’s “military-civil fusion strategy,” experts says

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), talk at the second plenary session of the National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 25, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS)

    Chinese President Xi Jinping and Wang Yang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), talk at the second plenary session of the National People’s Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 25, 2020

    (photo credit: REUTERS)

    WASHINGTON – The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced last week that Xin Wang, a scientific researcher and officer with the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) People’s Liberation Army (PLA), was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) while attempting to leave the United States for Tianjin, China – he was charged with visa fraud.

    According to the DOJ announcement, Wang entered the US with J-1 visa, and allegedly made fraudulent statements on this visa application.

    “Specifically, in his visa application, Wang stated that he had served as an Associate Professor in Medicine in the PLA,” the DOJ said, but when interviewed by Customs and Border Protection officers (CBP) at LAX on June 7, 2020, “Wang provided information that he was, in fact, still currently a ‘Level 9’ technician in the PLA, employed by a military university lab.”

    Emily de La Bruyère is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) a Washington-based think tank. She told The Jerusalem Post that it’s not unusual to have a PLA-linked Chinese operative integrated into the US research and development ecosystem, which is a core part of China’s ‘military-civil fusion strategy.'” 

    “There have been a number of cases like this recently in an increasing number. [The fact] that it’s so public in many ways, [is because] the US system is beginning to wake up to the reality of this being pervasive,” she added.

    “It’s clear that China is deploying its military-civil fusion strategy targeting the open, collaborative research ecosystem,” said Nathan Picarsic, a senior fellow at the FDD with a focus on China policy. “That’s a big core strength of the United States. And the Trump administration has recognized this vulnerability and is moving at a pace to close it off,” he added.

    “We had an executive order out of the White House, two weeks ago focuses on potential visa infractions of military-linked researchers. That was the first order, and I think there’s much more to come.”

    Picarsic said that Wang’s case “is pretty explicit” in terms of his connection to the people’s liberation army.

    “I think there are layers of Chinese infiltration that are a little bit more obfuscated and subverted that will also be weeded out over time. So I would expect to see more and more of this,” Picarsic noted.

    Speaking about the DOJ’s decision to make a public announcement about the case, Picarsic estimated that the United States will become transparent about similar cases to send a signal to Beijing, “but also to send a signal to our allies and partners, that the same type of infiltration is happening across the world of Western and developed economies that invest in fundamental research and development.”

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