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Sen. Tom Cotton proposes a halt to Chinese students studying in U.S.

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U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is calling for a ban on Chinese students from studying in the United States because he fears at least some of them will be recruited by the Communist government to steal coronavirus research.

In an interview with Fox Business Network’s “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo, Cotton noted that China has been stealing American technology for decades, adding that he has “little doubt” the country’s intelligence services will now attempt to acquire cutting edge COVID-19 research so China can develop a vaccine first and use it as “leverage against the rest of the world.”

“It’s a scandal to me that we have trained so many of so many of the Chinese Communist Party’s brightest minds to go back to China, to compete for our jobs, to take our business and ultimately to steal our property,” Cotton said.

“I think we need to take a very hard look at the visas we give Chinese nationals to come to the U.S. to study. Especially at the post-graduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields,” he continued. “If Chinese students want to come here and study Shakespeare and the Federalist Papers, that’s what they need to learn from America. They don’t need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence.”

The Arkansas Republican, Harvard lawyer and U.S. Army vet was the first lawmaker to publicly suggest that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese bio lab — much to the derision of the Washington establishment media and Democrats.

As it turns out, however, U.S. intelligence services and the Pentagon are following that very lead.

Cotton — a member of the Senate Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence — acknowledged as much last week.

“While the Chinese government denies the possibility of a lab leak, its actions tell a different story,” the Arkansas Republican wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

“The Chinese military posted its top epidemiologist to the Institute of Virology in January. In February Chairman Xi Jinping urged swift implementation of new biosafety rules to govern pathogens in laboratory settings,” he continued. “Academic papers about the virus’s origins are now subject to prior restraint by the government.

“The U.S. government is investigating whether the Covid-19 virus came from a government laboratory in Wuhan, China,” Cotton said in a thinly-veiled public warning to Bejing’s ChiCom government.

The Washington Examiner added:

Cotton, one of the first U.S. lawmakers to warn that the novel coronavirus could develop into a dangerous pandemic, has suggested such an origin since January. His latest offering marshals a litany of Chinese government actions, along with misgivings about the coronavirus research underway at the lab that predated the crisis, to suggest that Chinese officials are still lying about the origins of the contagion.

In his interview with Bartiromo, Cotton noted that China’s intelligence services are constantly working to steal U.S. intellectual property.

“The Chinese Communist Party has been stealing America’s intellectual property for decades, and they’re not going to magically stop in the middle of a pandemic,” he said, adding that in “almost every state” in the country there are “active cases” against the Chinese government.

“In the middle of a pandemic, what’s the most valuable intellectual property in the world? It’s the research that our great laboratories and life science companies are doing on prophylactic drugs…and ultimately a vaccine,” he added.

If China could steal the research and develop a vaccine first, not only would that raise Beijing’s global status but it would certainly give the ChiComs a huge advantage in any future trade discussions with the Trump administration or Beijing’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea.

Jon Dougherty

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