Alberta, Canada, asks universities to review cooperation with Chinese Communist entities

The Canadian province of Alberta has asked provincial universities to thoroughly review their partnerships with Chinese or Communist Party-related entities and to stop developing new partnerships with such entities.

The Canadian Press Agency reports that Alberta’s Minister of Higher Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, recently sent a letter to four universities in the province with the request.

In the letter, Nicolaides said, “I am deeply concerned about the potential plagiarism of Canadian intellectual property and am even more concerned that research collaborations with the People’s Republic of China could be used by the Chinese military and intelligence agencies.”

The letter asks that the four universities’ reviews ensure that “these ongoing collaborations undergo rigorous risk assessment and due diligence.”

The letter also states that “more needs to be done to stop foreign infiltration of our research and innovation centers, including our institutions of higher education.”

The letter asks the four universities to provide a status report to Alberta’s Ministry of Advanced Education within 90 days.

In a policy statement last March, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada warned the Canadian research community, particularly research institutions working on new coronaviruses, to take extra care to protect the security of their work, the report said The statement said.

The statement said, “Both Canada’s world-class research and its open and collaborative research environment are increasingly targets for espionage and foreign interference activities.”

Nicolaides said his priority is to work with higher education institutions to protect Canada’s intellectual property and ensure that they do not enter into collaborative agreements that would harm Canada’s “core national interests.

He also noted that Alberta welcomes “Ottawa’s development of a comprehensive national framework on these serious and pressing issues,” on the grounds that national security and intelligence are primarily the federal government’s areas of responsibility.