Three Chinese nationals have been accused of accepting bribes from China to disclose private research in magnetic resonance imaging that was being funded by the National Institutes of Health. Details from the New York Times:
The defendants, all Chinese citizens, included Yudong Zhu, 44, of Scarsdale, N.Y., an associate professor in the school’s radiology department who was described by the authorities as “an accomplished researcher and innovator.” He was hired by the university around 2008 to teach and conduct research related to innovations in M.R.I. technology, the authorities said.After the National Institutes of Health awarded the university millions of dollars over five years to pay for Professor Zhu’s research, he arranged for the two other defendants to move to New York from China to work with him, prosecutors said. He also arranged for them to receive financial support from an executive of the Chinese imaging company who was also affiliated with the government-sponsored institute, officials said.
US security agencies need to make protecting intellectual property and commercial information a priority. The Chinese are clearly engaged in a major program of theft of intellectual property and other acts of commercial espionage. If these defendants are guilty, we should throw the book at them. We need to set an example that will deter others.There is no need to turn this into a major international crisis, but the US has been doing much too little to prevent and retaliate against this kind of completely unacceptable behavior. The fact that more and more Chinese companies are expanding operations in the US and other countries opens up another appealing option for a response: lawsuits to recover damages from espionage.We need to make this hurt.