President Biden’s newest National Economic Council (NEC) hire is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher who spoke at a Chinese government-backed conference alongside a fellow professor recently indicted by the Department of Justice for secretly advising Chinese Communist Party officials.
The conference was part of a broader relationship between MIT and Shanghai which includes a Chinese Communist Party district government paying for technological advice and has been praised by apparatchiks as helping achieve Xi Jinping’s goals for China’s technological development.
In addition to Chinese Communist Party officials speaking at the conference, an MIT researcher, Gang Chen, who was recently indicted by the Department of Justice (DOJ) for taking U.S. research grants while “promoting China’s technological and scientific development by providing advice and expertise—sometimes directly to Chinese government officials—and often in exchange for financial compensation,” also lectured.
The DOJ alleges that since 2012, Chen has acted as an “overseas expert” for the Chinese Communist Party at the request of the government’s New York Consulate and has received approximately $29 million in foreign funding.
Reynolds, who lectured on “Systems of Innovation: Building Regional Capabilities to Address Emerging Challenges” and moderated an “Innovation, Productivity and Competitiveness” panel, appeared to advise conference attendees on China’s path to economic growth.
One header from her 18-page slide show described “Multiple Pathways for China Going Forward to Drive Economic Growth”:
Organizers hope that local startups will be inspired or find some valuable technologies through the speeches, according to the district government. […] The Americans are giving guidance and suggestions to entrepreneurs and company officials based in Yangpu during the conference.
What’s more, the Shanghai district’s government “signed an agreement with MIT to act as a bridge between Yangpu-based companies and the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, which helps enterprises to find appropriate resources from the university’s five colleges and 33 departments.”
“The Yangpu government has ‘top level’ membership on the MIT program, while local companies can opt to pay a membership fee to have a ‘second membership,’ allowing them to seek help and suggestions from MIT professionals anytime,” the summary adds.
Among the areas where the Chinese Communist Party and MIT have collaborated so far are “intelligent manufacturing, robotics, medical big data, urban infrastructure and traffic data analysis.”
The paper also shared the praise of Li Yueqi, the district’s Chinese Communist Party secretary of Yangpu, who described how the MIT partnership fits into Xi Jinping’s broader goal of development and “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”:
Li Yueqi, Party secretary of Yangpu, quoted what President Xi Jinping said in his report to the recent 19th national Party congress that development is the top priority of the Party in governing and rejuvenating the country while innovation is the primary force driving China’s development. “That’s why we shall make innovation as our driving force and reform as our source of vitality to fulfill innovation-driven development strategy, and accelerate the construction of science and technology innovation center with global influence to contribute to the construction of an innovative country,” Li said. “That is for the goals of ‘Two Centenaries’ to realize the Chinese Dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Li indicated to deepen the cooperation between the district and universities and consolidate the mechanism of cooperation; to agglomerate prevailing resources of the district and universities and jointly promote industrial upgrade; to take various measures to promote the transformation of scientific and technological achievements as well as create a friendly environment and optimized regional ecology for innovation and entrepreneurship.