Intelligence: Chinese espionage at universities
Universities and other knowledge institutes have not only been the target of cyber-attacks, the intelligence services say, but Chinese researchers, PhD candidates, and students may be used as spies.
The report says that collaborating with China can be dangerous to Dutch and international security and prosperity in various ways. According to the report, China is mainly targeting ‘Dutch top sectors’ and knowledge institutes.
The report says that China’s policies lead to structured espionage efforts, targeted at gathering high-value knowledge and technology. China then uses this knowledge for its own economic, political, and military gain.
The report also says that ‘persons who state actors think have the potential to end up in knowledgeable or influential positions’ are being used to spy on us. These are people with access to academic or research institutes, like researchers, PhD candidates, and students.
According to the intelligence services, the espionage isn’t just happening illegally; the legal collaboration between Dutch knowledge institutes and China is also vulnerable to espionage. These legal partnerships might provide China with resources they might use in unwanted ways, the report says.
Last year, the government warned the knowledge institutes about possible threats of espionage from other countries in a letter to the Lower House. The letter also warned of people being used to spy.
Since then, it’s been up to the knowledge institutes themselves to take action against espionage. The government wrote in the letter that the institutes should examine their security measures and tighten them where needed.
It’s unclear whether the government will provide more guidance in light of the intelligence services’ report.