Chinese student arrested for omitting link to PLA-backed university in F-1 visa application
08/08/2023 // Belle Carter // Views

A Chinese postgraduate student with an F-1 nonimmigrant visa has been arrested and charged with fraud for failing to declare his link to a university connected to China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) in his student permit application in the United States.

Attorney Trini E. Ross of the Western District of New York said on Aug. 3 that 28-year-old Jiaxuemo Zhang, currently residing in Amherst, is pursuing a master's degree at the State University of New York in Buffalo under the academic student visa issued by the Department of State in 2021.

According to the complaint, the master's degree student did not include the information that he conducted research and attended Beihang University in China, a national public research university located in Beijing specializing in engineering, technology and the hard sciences. The university is known for doing research for the Chinese military.

The educational institution is said to be one of China's "Seven Sons of National Defense" and houses nine major Chinese defense laboratories, including the National Laboratory of Computational Fluid Dynamics co-established with a military academy. Zhang conducted research in this laboratory and was mentored by Chongwen Jiang, the deputy director of the Military Research Office, the Epoch Times reported.

Zhang only listed the China University of Mining and Technology in Beijing. If convicted, he will face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

All of this was revealed when he applied for U.S. doctoral programs. The agent alleged that the information on the curriculum vitae he submitted is not the same as what was on his visa application as the former already included his ties with the PLA-linked university.

"My client is a Chinese student at the University at Buffalo. The Government alleges that he left information off his visa application to study in the United States. Mr. Zhang simply wanted to come here because America could provide him with the best education in the world. We look forward to sorting this all out as the case proceeds," Fonda Dawn Kubiak, assistant federal public defender, told the Chinese language edition of the news outlet.

Kubiak added that Zhang entered a "not guilty" plea to the charge and is presumed innocent. "The case is in the early stages of the criminal trial process. At this point, the defense team will review and assess the government's evidence and thereafter formulate our defense as the case proceeds," she added.

Zhang reportedly appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael J. Roemer on July 28. He was released on conditions pending further legal proceedings.

Annual reports from Open Doors show that there have been surges in the number of Chinese students applying to U.S. schools in the last 20 years – a five-fold increase from 60,000 in 2000 to 317,000 in 2020.

In May 2020, former President Donald Trump signed a proclamation that went into effect on June 1 of that year, suspending certain students and researchers from entry as nonimmigrants.

"The [People's Republic of China] authorities use some Chinese students, mostly post-graduate students, and post-doctorate researchers, to operate as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property," the proclamation stated, adding that these students "are at high risk of being exploited or co-opted" by their county to acquire "sensitive U.S. technologies and intellectual property to modernize its military."

FBI says China poses significant threat to national security

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has repeatedly warned that China's communist regime is targeting businesses, universities, and government research facilities to obtain artificial intelligence (AI) research and products in order to advance its own technologies, posing a national security threat.

"Nation-state adversaries, particularly China, pose a significant threat to American companies and national security by stealing our AI technology and data to advance their own AI programs and enable foreign influence campaigns," a senior FBI official said during a background briefing call with reporters.

A top intel official said China has a national plan to surpass the U.S. as the world's top AI power by 2030, but its progress is based on stolen or otherwise acquired U.S. technology. "What we’re seeing is efforts across multiple vectors, across multiple industries, across multiple avenues to try to solicit and acquire U.S. technology … to be able to re-create and develop and advance their AI programs," the top intel official further exposed.

FBI Director Christopher Wray sounded the alarm about China's AI intentions at last week's cybersecurity summit in Atlanta. He warned that after "years stealing both our innovation and massive troves of data," the Chinese are well-positioned "to use the fruits of their widespread hacking to power, with AI, even more, powerful hacking efforts." (Related: Chinese communist government orders AI chatbots to 'reflect the core values of socialism,' like American AI will reflect far-left 'wokeness.')

Visit for more stories related to China's effort to take over the world.

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