Over 1,000 Chinese researchers leave US amid tech theft crackdown; Biden already targeted by China agents

The US Justice Department’s John Demers speaks during a virtual news conference in Washington in October 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - More than 1,000 Chinese researchers have left the United States amid a US crackdown on alleged technology theft, John Demers, the US Justice Department's top national security official said on Wednesday (Dec 2).

William Evanina, chief of the counterintelligence branch of the office of the US Director of National Intelligence, told the same Aspen Institute Cyber Summit that Chinese agents are already targeting personnel of the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, as well as "people close" to Biden's team.

A Justice Department official said the researchers Demers referred to were a different group to those mentioned by the State Department in September, when it said the United States had revoked visas for more than 1,000 Chinese nationals under a presidential measure denying entry to students and researchers deemed security risks.

China described that move as "naked" political persecution and racial discrimination that seriously violated human rights.

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