More than 150 Chinese-born scientists who did U.S. taxpayer-funded military research at the fabled Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are now back home working in China, in some cases, helping develop weapons.
“Since returning to China, Los Alamos alumni have helped the [People’s Republic of China] advance key military and dual-use technologies in areas such as hypersonics, deep-earth penetrating warheads, unmanned autonomous vehicles, jet engines, and submarine noise reduction,” according to a report titled “The Los Alamos Club” from Strider Technologies first reported on by NBC News.
One such scientist focused on in the report was Zhao Yusheng, a researcher at Los Alamos for 18 years, who collected about $20 million in taxpayer-funded research grants from the U.S. Department of Energy.
With “Q clearance,” at Los Alamos, Zhao was allowed access to top secret restricted data and national security information and led the lab’s team researching high-pressure materials — nuclear warheads, according to the report.
After leaving Los Alamos in 2010, Zhao lead the University of Nevada, Las Vegas High-Pressure Science and Engineering Center, also with a Q Clearance, collecting another approximately $2.9 million in DOE funding for research into new battery materials, the report found.
Zhao was recruited to work for Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China in 2016. He had been scouted by another former Los Alamos alumnus, Dr. Chen Shiyi, “a world-renowned expert in fluid dynamics and turbulence who spent the 1990s at the lab,” he Strider report said.
Chen returned to China and served as president of the university, recruiting scientists with links to Los Alamos, luring them back with between $155,000 and $755,000 in research subsidies and grants.
Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping and other top CCP leaders have supported China’s talent programs, the Strider report noted.
“This is the first time we have a comprehensive open-sourced reporting that identifies the people, the places, the services and the organizations in China that are benefitting from the talent who once worked here in our national labs,” Bill Evanina, former director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center, told NBC News. “No one can say this is not a threat to our national security,” saying the U.S. is giving “our enemies” the ability to use weapons against us.