Exclusive: The FBI Hunts Chinese Spies At An Elite American Children’s Hospital

Forbes | 9/18/2019 | Staff
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The FBI is leading an investigation into Chinese researchers working at American hospitals, suspecting them of being pawns for China-backed espionage.

Yu Zhou and Li Chen were a husband-and-wife team that had built their reputations on breakthroughs in cutting-edge medical therapies at Ohio’s elite Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Along the way, they’d also founded a Chinese company and sold it to a Nasdaq-listed biotech business worth more than $150 million. But Zhou and Chen’s careers took a dramatic turn on July 29 when federal agents arrested them for stealing medical secrets from the former employer.

Espionage - Monday - Forbes - Links - Chinese

But there’s more: Though they’re not being charged with economic espionage on Monday, Forbes has learned they’re still being investigated over links to the Chinese Communist Party. Those charges, according to a prosecutor on the case, could be filed at a later date.

The case, exclusively revealed by Forbes ahead of an announcement by the Department of Justice and the unsealing of an indictment on Monday, forms part of a major operation by the FBI’s counterintelligence and IP theft units to hunt down those the agency believes are either pawns or recruits of the Chinese government.

Purge - Perspective - Department - Justice - Security

It’s a purge that, from the perspective of the Department of Justice and national security experts, is a long overdue step in tackling the trade war with China. The flip side from those defending Chinese scientists under investigation is that this “red scare” is terrorizing and scaring off elite researchers who could benefit America’s economy.

Federal agents have been fighting the theft of American military and tech secrets by the Chinese government and companies for decades, but the Zhou and Chen case offers a glimpse into the perceived depth of the problem. The scientific breakthroughs the pair are accused of stealing and taking back to China are niche to the point of being incomprehensible...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Forbes
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