The increase in enrollment of Chinese international students in U.S. colleges raises national security concerns, experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation, as it presents a golden opportunity for the Chinese government to infiltrate American institutions.
International students’ enrollment in U.S. universities increased to approximately 948,519 in the 2021-2022 school year, with about 291,000 of those students being from China, according to a report by the Institute of International Education and U.S. State Department. Though many argue the influx Chinese students brings economic benefits, it also presents an opportunity for the Chinese government to conduct economic espionage and even threaten national security, experts told the DCNF.
“With an adversary nation like China, some of the STEM-related benefits are double-edged,” Dr. Anders Corr, the publisher of Journal of Political Risk, a peer-reviewed journal examining the impact of events such as war and terrorism, told the DCNF. “The regime in Beijing seeks to extract as much STEM knowledge as possible from the West, and they seek to use it to eclipse our own STEM and its critical role in the economic and military dominance of the democracies. China has already outpaced our industrial strength by extracting it from the U.S. and allies since the 1970s, and now it is attempting the same scientifically.”
U.S. intelligence officials have long believed American universities to be a weak spot for security threats, such as espionage, noting that spies brought to campus through student visas are normally never caught, NBC News reported. Numerous Chinese students and professors working in the U.S. have been convicted of espionage-related crimes, using their university positions to steal intellectual property, scientific knowledge and technological innovations.
Peter Wood, president of the National Scholars Association, told the DCNF that the sheer number of Chinese students affords the PRC ample opportunity to weaken America from the inside.