Intellectual Property Protection Invoked Students to leave the UK

To the protection of the UK’s intellectual property, fifty Chinese students have left the country in the past three years. This is according to MI5 Chief, who gave a speech on the espionage threat posed by Beijing. The UK has tightened its procedures to prevent the theft of sensitive academic research.

 

The head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency said Chinese spies were targeting intellectual property across the western world and that the secret theft had “cost our economy billions”.

 

In a rare public intervention, Andrew Parker said the Chinese Communist Party was increasingly determined to steal technological secrets from other nations, using sophisticated cyber-methods, human intelligence officers and students.

 

Parker said Britain had seen evidence of Chinese attempts to access sensitive research across various sectors, including energy, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. He added that China sought to exploit the openness of western societies to enhance its economic development.

 

Addressing an audience at MI5’s headquarters in London, Parker said: “China is increasingly assertive internationally. The problem is not their growing strength but their determination to use all the tools at their disposal to further their interests.

Intellectual Property

“That can include espionage and other forms of malign activity. They are doing that more now than ever since the Cold War.”

 

Parker said Britain had seen evidence of Chinese attempts to access sensitive research across various sectors, including energy, telecoms, pharmaceuticals and aerospace. He added that China sought to exploit the openness of western societies to enhance its economic development.

 

The spy agency director said that while there had been a “step change” in the pace and scale of Chinese activity, it was not unique in targeting Britain.

 

“Russia is continuing to engage in espionage and cyber-attacks, including attempts to influence public opinion and decision making,” Parker said. 50 Chinese students have left the country in the past three years to reassure national security.

 

In addition to the 50 students who have left, the UK has tightened its procedures to prevent the theft of sensitive academic research. The new system, called the Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS), was introduced in June 2018 and requires Chinese nationals applying for postgraduate study in certain “sensitive” scientific and engineering fields to obtain security clearance from the UK government before being granted a visa.

This initiative was implemented following an increase in concern over the theft of sensitive information and technology by Chinese state-sponsored actors.

 

The scheme, run by the British government, applies to international students from China and other countries subject to immigration control who want to engage in research on military technology or other subjects deemed to be sensitive.

 

The spy chief did not provide further details about the Chinese students who had left, a fraction of the 150,000 that study in the UK. Still, it formed part of a wider warning about Beijing’s espionage activities aimed primarily at universities, military and hi-tech businesses and related organisations.

 

Ken McCallum, the new head of MI5, said: “The UK is one of the most attractive places in the world to study, work and live. We will continue to welcome international students, but we are right to be vigilant about the risks they may pose.

 

“The government has put in place a range of measures to counter-espionage and protect our intellectual property, including the Academic Technology Approval Scheme, which helps prevent sensitive technology from being diverted to military use.”

 

Where is your stance on the MI5’s decision that provoked 50 Chinese students to leave? Do you think it’s only speculation? is it or is it not rational?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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