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DOJ May Drop 'China Initiative' Name, Limit Program's Focus

Updated: Feb 21

The Justice Department will make changes to the China Initiative, a Trump-era effort to combat Chinese national security threats, reports the New York Times. Civil rights proponents, business groups and universities have told the Biden administration that the program had fostered suspicion of Asian professors working in the U.S., chilled scientific research and contributed to a rising tide of anti-Asian sentiment. Lkely changes, including an end to the China Initiative name, are the result of a three-month evaluation by Matthew Olsen, the head of the Justice Department’s national security division.

. The modifications to a program that brought espionage, trade-secrets theft and cybercrime cases comes as Beijing continues to use spies, cyberhacking, theft and propaganda to challenge the U.S. standing as the world’s pre-eminent economic and military power. The FBI has more than 2,000 open investigations into Chinese efforts to steal U.S. information and technology, and it is opening new cases related to Chinese intelligence operations about every 12 hours. FBI director Christopher Wray, said last month. “There is just no country that presents a broader threat to our ideas, our innovation and our economic security than China." Republicans say that changing the program would indicate that the Biden administration was going soft on Beijing. Olsen says DOJ's work will not be hampered. Changes are expected to focus on the department’s efforts to root out researchers who lied to the government about Chinese affiliation.

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