CSIS Warns of China’s Talent Recruitment Emails to Government Officials, Academics

Canada's intelligence agency has issued a warning about attempts by the Chinese regime to recruit Canadian government officials and academics through a talent program.In an email notice sent to government employees and obtained by The Epoch Times, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) said it is aware of recent emails directed at "Government of Canada employees and Canadian academics, inviting them to participate in an overseas talent program.""Foreign interests are likely using this recruitment campaign to acquire Canadian knowledge and expertise. These types of talent recruitment and technology transfer initiatives can result in the misappropriation of Government of Canada resources and the loss of proprietary and sensitive information," CSIS said in the email notice.The agency noted that the foreign interests "aim to exploit the collaborative, transparent and open nature of Canada’s research and innovation sector to serve foreign economic, security and military interests.""These initiatives can also be leveraged to support espionage and interference activities, which pose a threat to Canada’s national security," it said.The agency said it is currently investigating the origins of the email campaign.Related Stories11/29/202311/22/2023When asked about the origins of the emails, CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam pointed to a CBC News report attributing the talent recruitment efforts to China. As reported by CBC, a photograph of the recruitment email displays the subject line "2024 invitation for overseas talents to apply for the Global Excellent Scientists Fund in China." The email reportedly solicits "significant" personal information and pledges salaries ranging from $95,000 to $374,000.CSIS has indicated the existence of over 200 Chinese "talent recruitment programs," over which Beijing maintains "exceptional levels of control." However, Mr. Balsam refrained from commenting on whether any Canadian government employees have applied to these programs, as reported by CBC.In response to the talent recruitment campaign, CSIS is urging individuals targeted to reach out to the Security and Emergency Management Sector within the intelligence department. Security Risks CSIS's advisory aligns with a prior cautionary statement from CSIS Director David Vigneault. In a public appearance alongside counterparts from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance on Oct. 17, Mr. Vigneault highlighted that Beijing has been capitalizing on the "openness and collaborative nature of Western democracies" as part of its strategy to advance geopolitical objectives."We see the PRC [People's Republic of China], the Chinese Communist Party passing legislation, to force any person of Chinese origin anywhere in the world to support their intelligence service," he said during a forum discussion at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University."It means they have ways of [coercing] people here, in each of our countries, anywhere, to essentially tell them and give them the secrets that you know."The Australian Strategic Policy Institute expressed concerns about the security threat associated with China's global talent recruitment programs in a 2020 report titled "Hunting the phoenix: The Chinese Communist Party’s global search for technology and talent." The report emphasized the distinct nature of the CCP's talent-recruitment initiatives compared to those of other nations. It underscored concerns about associated misconduct and highlighted the geopolitical ambitions intertwined with China's talent recruitment programs."According to official statistics, China’s talent-recruitment programs drew in almost 60,000 overseas professionals between 2008 and 2016," the report stated."These efforts lack transparency; are widely associated with misconduct, intellectual property theft or espionage; contribute to the People’s Liberation Army’s modernisation; and facilitate human rights abuses."In April, Charles Lieber, a former nano-scientist at Harvard University, was convicted for concealing his participation in the Thousand Talents Plan—a Chinese state-run talent recruitment program. Simultaneously, Mr. Lieber was receiving funding from the U.S. government for sensitive research.

CSIS Warns of China’s Talent Recruitment Emails to Government Officials, Academics

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Canada's intelligence agency has issued a warning about attempts by the Chinese regime to recruit Canadian government officials and academics through a talent program.

In an email notice sent to government employees and obtained by The Epoch Times, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) said it is aware of recent emails directed at "Government of Canada employees and Canadian academics, inviting them to participate in an overseas talent program."

"Foreign interests are likely using this recruitment campaign to acquire Canadian knowledge and expertise. These types of talent recruitment and technology transfer initiatives can result in the misappropriation of Government of Canada resources and the loss of proprietary and sensitive information," CSIS said in the email notice.

The agency noted that the foreign interests "aim to exploit the collaborative, transparent and open nature of Canada’s research and innovation sector to serve foreign economic, security and military interests."

"These initiatives can also be leveraged to support espionage and interference activities, which pose a threat to Canada’s national security," it said.

The agency said it is currently investigating the origins of the email campaign.

When asked about the origins of the emails, CSIS spokesperson Eric Balsam pointed to a CBC News report attributing the talent recruitment efforts to China. As reported by CBC, a photograph of the recruitment email displays the subject line "2024 invitation for overseas talents to apply for the Global Excellent Scientists Fund in China." The email reportedly solicits "significant" personal information and pledges salaries ranging from $95,000 to $374,000.

CSIS has indicated the existence of over 200 Chinese "talent recruitment programs," over which Beijing maintains "exceptional levels of control." However, Mr. Balsam refrained from commenting on whether any Canadian government employees have applied to these programs, as reported by CBC.

In response to the talent recruitment campaign, CSIS is urging individuals targeted to reach out to the Security and Emergency Management Sector within the intelligence department.
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Security Risks

CSIS's advisory aligns with a prior cautionary statement from CSIS Director David Vigneault. In a public appearance alongside counterparts from the Five Eyes intelligence alliance on Oct. 17, Mr. Vigneault highlighted that Beijing has been capitalizing on the "openness and collaborative nature of Western democracies" as part of its strategy to advance geopolitical objectives.
"We see the PRC [People's Republic of China], the Chinese Communist Party passing legislation, to force any person of Chinese origin anywhere in the world to support their intelligence service," he said during a forum discussion at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

"It means they have ways of [coercing] people here, in each of our countries, anywhere, to essentially tell them and give them the secrets that you know."

The Australian Strategic Policy Institute expressed concerns about the security threat associated with China's global talent recruitment programs in a 2020 report titled "Hunting the phoenix: The Chinese Communist Party’s global search for technology and talent." The report emphasized the distinct nature of the CCP's talent-recruitment initiatives compared to those of other nations. It underscored concerns about associated misconduct and highlighted the geopolitical ambitions intertwined with China's talent recruitment programs.

"According to official statistics, China’s talent-recruitment programs drew in almost 60,000 overseas professionals between 2008 and 2016," the report stated.

"These efforts lack transparency; are widely associated with misconduct, intellectual property theft or espionage; contribute to the People’s Liberation Army’s modernisation; and facilitate human rights abuses."

In April, Charles Lieber, a former nano-scientist at Harvard University, was convicted for concealing his participation in the Thousand Talents Plan—a Chinese state-run talent recruitment program. Simultaneously, Mr. Lieber was receiving funding from the U.S. government for sensitive research.