Last week in The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Bethel, a board member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, announced that she resigned the post after seven years.

MIT Board Member Quit When Colleagues Refused To Heed Her Concern About Aggressive Chinese Spying

In 2018, the Trump administration launched an operation called the “China Initiative,” an effort to crack down on spying by Chinese nationals at American research universities.

As Richard Bernstein of Real Clear Investigations wrote in February 2021, the dragnet resulted in “dozens of arrests across the country for technology theft, visa fraud, cyber-espionage, and other illicit activities in the United States.”

The effort also uncovered what U.S. officials believed was a “state-directed campaign to send advanced Chinese researchers to the United States while disguising their true identities.”

Part of the evidence of that came in July 2020, Bernstein noted. The FBI arrested four supposed Chinese graduate researchers, who were really undercover Chinese army officers. “An estimated 1,000 Chinese graduate researchers abruptly fled the country and returned to China – apparently, in the view of American officials, because they had concealed their ties to the Chinese military and were afraid of arrest,” Bernstein noted.

Yet, as we saw with the Wuhan virus, wokeism is damaging our ability to defend ourselves.

Last week in The Wall Street Journal, Michelle Bethel, a board member of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s McGovern Institute for Brain Research, announced that she resigned from the post after seven years.

Well acquainted with China after having lived there, she noted that the Chinese Communist Party has now “reasserted itself in every aspect of China’s society — economic, social, cultural and, yes, scientific.” Part of that is the effort to burrow 

In fact, Bethel added, “The Chinese Communist Party, in pursuing what it calls ‘military-civil fusion,’ has passed laws stating that all institutions, including those in partnerships with Western universities, are obligated to serve the modernization of the Chinese military.” A few years ago, the party also passed a law that required researchers to hand over whatever they learned to the CCP “on-demand,” she wrote.

“Yet MIT and the McGovern Institute” – which was founded in 2000 by Bethel’s stepfather – “seem to have failed to scrutinize these developments. I believe that MIT doesn’t have a firm grasp on events in China or on the risks of partnerships with Chinese institutions in cutting-edge areas of science that are subject to misappropriation or abuse for military modernization or repression.”

How does she know this?

“When I first aired these concerns a few years ago, other board members took offense,” Bethel recalled. “One said that any serious inquiry into the ambitions of the Chinese Communist Party would be ‘racist.’ A key member of the institute asked me to ‘stick to science’ and not to mention China again. She noted that after reading how a Chinese researcher had infiltrated a project in Denmark, she again raised concerns.

“Board members again dismissed the issues I cited, saying scientific progress is paramount. One characterized my motives as ‘political.’”

Bethel said when she understood her concerns would generate hostility or apathy by the rest of the board, instead of a genuine conversation about these research spies, she quit.

“In parting, I ask the board, and others like it across the country, to take a stand against working with repressive governments. We should promote ethics before the pursuit of science,” she concluded.

Yet as her episode indicates, and whether with a virus or national security, our woke national elites put preserving their progressive bona fides ahead of our health, whether it’s the health of the human body or of our national security.

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