U.S. National Institutes of Health Fires 54 Researchers As Ongoing Investigation Reveals 93% Failed to Disclose Links to Chinese Communist Party


The National Institutes of Health, the foremost research institute under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has investigated 189 researchers for undisclosed ties to foreign countries, 93 percent of which were linked to China.

The fresh round of terminations resulted from an ongoing investigation at the taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health (NIH) into the failure of grant recipients to disclose financial ties to foreign governments.

The news was first broken by Science Mag, a project of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s oldest and largest general science organization.

Originating in 2018, the investigation concluded with 54 researchers being “terminated or resigning” for violating NIH rules against simultaneously receiving funds from the U.S. government and foreign entities.

NIH – the parent organization for high profile doctors like Anthony Fauci – employs 6,000 research scientists and has a multi-billion dollar budget.

The report into foreign links reveals the duplicity occured via three main tactics:

A common theme, however, among the majority of these now-terminated researchers is the entity funding them: the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

While 399 researchers were suspected of being on a foreign payroll, the NIH ultimately pursued 189 individuals. 93 percent of those involved in a documented foreign relationship listed China as the “country of foreign support.”

One hundred and seventy-five researchers in 27 states and 59 cities were targeted and the average foreign financial investment – either in the form of direct compensation or research grants – was $678,000.

The findings are in line with President Xi Jinping’s 2013 decree: “Only by controlling core technology in one’s own hands, can one seize the initiative in competition and development, and absolutely guarantee national economic security, defense security.”

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The most common form of violation – totaling 70 percent – were “undisclosed foreign grants” followed by “undisclosed talents award,” and “undisclosed foreign company.”

The NIH report points to programs like the Thousand Talents Plan as the primary avenue whereby the CCP commandeers U.S.-based researchers, American taxpayer dollars, and weaponizes their findings for their own benefit.

Thousand Talent Plan members sign legally binding contracts with Chinese institutions, like universities and research institutions. The contracts can incentivize members to lie on [US] grant applications, set up ‘shadow labs’ in China … and, in some cases, transfer U.S. scientists’ hard-earned intellectual capital. Some of the contracts also contain nondisclosure provisions and require the Chinese government’s permission to terminate the agreement …. These provisions are in stark contrast to the U.S. research community’s basic norms, values, and principles.

And 82 percent of the individuals terminated were male Asians, a trend NIH’s head of extramural research Michael Lauer noted was “not surprising” because “that’s who the Chinese target.”

Not only does this raise concerns about the sensitive data gathered by NIH researchers ending up with the CCP, but it also grants them access to America’s lifeline for innovation: technological advancement. And all at taxpayer expense.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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