China’s “Thousand Talents” program to tap into its citizens educated or employed in the U.S. is a key part of multi-pronged efforts to transfer, replicate and eventually overtake U.S. military and commercial technology, according to American intelligence officials.
The program, begun in 2008, is far from secret. But its unadvertised goal is “to facilitate the legal and illicit transfer of U.S. technology, intellectual property and know-how” to China, according to an unclassified analysis by the National Intelligence Council, the branch of U.S. intelligence that assesses long-term trends.
The program was highlighted Thursday to House Armed Services Committee members as Pentagon and intelligence officials outlined what they said was an aggressive, 10-part Chinese “toolkit for foreign technology acquisition.”
The National Intelligence Council’s analysis, produced in April, described the Thousand Talents Plan as “China’s flagship talent program and probably the largest in terms of funding.” The program also was cited in a combative White House report posted Tuesday titled “How China’s Economic Aggression Threatens the Technologies and Intellectual Property of the United States and the World.”