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April 29, 2024 (EIRNS)—Academics and researchers at British universities will be vetted by the nation’s security services as part of government plans to crack down on alleged Chinese espionage, according to a report in The Times of London on April 26. This is the latest development in the China scare pattern that is erupting in the trans-Atlantic world.

The measures were reportedly announced following an April 25 meeting between MI5 Director General Ken McCallum and the vice-chancellors of two dozen leading universities, including Oxford and Cambridge. McCallum reportedly warned that hostile states are actively targeting universities to steal technology that can “deliver their authoritarian, military and commercial priorities.” According to the M15 chief, a secret review into the vulnerabilities of the U.K.’s higher education has shown that countries like China are deploying both “overt and covert mechanisms” to “acquire intellectual property and steal advantage.”

Consultations are underway on a new system of government vetting that would see academics who have access to sensitive research face background checks by security services, according to the report. The government will also be looking at new funding for higher education institutions to increase security around sensitive sites. Universities could also reportedly be required to consult with the security services when entering into funding partnerships and collaborations with foreign institutions.

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