Stanford’s Undisclosed Ties to China Exposed in DOJ Settlement
Recently, the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Stanford University, revealing the troubling extent of China’s influence within our academic institutions. Stanford had failed to disclose foreign financial involvement in its research programs while simultaneously securing substantial federal research grants from various U.S. government agencies.
In this agreement, Stanford admitted no wrongdoing and will pay just $1.93 million to the Justice Department. It also pledged to collaborate with the National Science Foundation (NSF) on improving practices related to funding research projects and disclosures of current and pending support.
The crux of the issue lies in Stanford’s failure to report Chinese-funded research agreements in its applications for federal research grants between 2015 and 2020. Notably, Stanford received these grants without disclosing the substantial ties between its research faculty and China’s Fudan University. This failure to disclose these connections raises questions about the eligibility of Stanford for these research grants.
Fudan University is a significant Chinese research institution, and Stanford has extensive ties with it. Despite Fudan’s pledge to adhere to the Chinese Communist Party’s educational policy, Stanford’s collaboration with Fudan remains robust. This raises concerns about research developed in such partnerships contributing to the Chinese Communist Party’s military-civil fusion efforts aimed at surpassing the U.S. militarily and economically by 2025.
Stanford is not the only American university with close Chinese research partnerships that could potentially threaten national security. Yale, for instance, boasts deep ties with China, engaging in joint research collaborations in various fields. Harvard also operates joint programs with Fudan University and collaborates with leading Chinese institutions.
These universities receive significant federal funding, with federal taxpayer support accounting for a substantial portion of their research and development funding. However, they have repeatedly failed to comply with reporting requirements related to foreign funding and involvements, leading the U.S. Department of Education to launch investigations into all three universities.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has repeatedly warned of China’s threat and the naivete in the academic sector. Despite these warnings, many universities continue to ignore basic disclosure requirements. China expects a return on its investments in American research, but American taxpayers and officials should also expect transparency and compliance with the law.
As China’s aggression grows, universities that receive taxpayer funding must take foreign funding disclosure requirements more seriously. Federal agencies also need to increase enforcement of these requirements and impose penalties to deter future noncompliance.
In conclusion, the settlement between the Justice Department and Stanford University highlights the need for greater scrutiny and transparency regarding foreign funding in American universities. The American people, who generously support these institutions, deserve accountability and protection against potential threats to national security posed by foreign partnerships.