China’s Defense Secrecy Still Robust
By Richard D. Fisher, Jr. Washington
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Writing for these journals is very popular, as it provides Chinese academics a rare opportunity to profit personally from their research. But these databases also feature a vast collection of U.S. and other foreign academic products that give Chinese researchers insights into weapons programs, whereas strict Chinese censorship ensures their academic products do not identify military programs or weapons.
Knowing that foreign researchers are relying more on open data, China is not beyond poisoning this well to sow confusion. Writing in The Diplomat in August, a former two-term U.S. Army attache to China, Larry Wortzel, suggests that China's recent release of a very sensitive book about its nuclear strategy—that also happened to affirm its “defensive” nuclear strategy in the face of troubling indications otherwise—may be an operation in perception management.
In the long term, a balance of sensitive information flows will require consideration of “reciprocity” in sectors such as education. In 2010, more than 157,000 Chinese studied at U.S. universities, with a majority concentrated in hard sciences, such as aerospace engineering, whereas 14,000 Americans studied at Chinese universities that year, most of them learning the language. Perhaps China's access to key U.S. aerospace centers, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, should be made contingent on increasing U.S. access to China's top aerospace centers, such as the Harbin Institute of Technology.