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DOJ Initiative Targets China’s “Economic Espionage”, Applies to U.S. Academic and Research Institutions

Hdeel Abdelhady‘s most recent article in Law360, which builds on and updates a prior MassPoint post on the DOJ Initiative to Combat China’s “Economic Espionage”, was published on January 28 and is available here.

The US-China Tech War: Implications for Academic and Research Institutions – DOJ’s China Initiative


The ongoing confrontation between the United States and China extends beyond a mere trade war, expanding into a high-stakes tech war. With emerging technologies like Artificial Intelligence, robotics, nanotechnology, and advanced computing being critical to future economic and military dominance, the two nations are locked in a race. To safeguard national security interests, the US government is adopting a comprehensive approach, including the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) China Initiative.

Launched in 2018, the China Initiative seeks to combat what’s been termed Chinese economic espionage through robust enforcement measures, including in academic and research environments. It targets “non-traditional collectors,” such as in labs and universities. The Initiative also addresses foreign or “malign” influence campaigns on college and university campuses, such as with the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

For academic and research institutions, understanding the implications of the China Initiative is crucial. Seeking clarity on its scope and developing compliance and response plans is essential, particularly for entities engaging with China or Chinese parties. To navigate this complex landscape, adopting proactive measures like awareness and advocacy strategies is highly recommended.

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