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Former Chinese Official Reveals Predecessor of Thousand Talents Program

At the end of last year, after a famous American Chinese physicist, Zhang Shoucheng, “accidentally passed away,” the Chinese government began to play down the “Thousand Talents Program” in which he had been involved.

Cheng Ganyuan, a former Chinese Communist Party official now living in the United States, said that, as early as 1978, when Zhang was admitted to the Physics Department of Fudan University in Shanghai at the age of 15, he became part of China’s strategy to steal Western technology.

Cheng said that in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Deng Xiaoping started the reform and opening up policy in order to save the autocratic regime and prevent the regime from collapsing. At that time, the regime established a plan to send a group of capable technical talents to study in the West.

He said, “Now we know about the ‘Thousand Talents Program.’ At that time it had no clear name. It was said that we needed to train a group of capable technical personnel and send them to the West to steal technological intelligence.”

Cheng graduated from the Law Department of Fudan University in the 1950s. At that time, Fudan University had a Second Physics Department, which appeared to the outside as a university academic program and was also known as the Nuclear Physics Department. He learned through the school’s internal channels that the intelligence division of the Ministry of Public Security actually headed this department.

At that time, the Second Physics Department enrolled those students who had the highest scores. It was also an honor to study in that department. The Second Physics Department selected from the applicants those who had no problems in their family backgrounds. Many of them were princelings.

Jiang Mianheng, the eldest son of former head of the Chinese Communist Party Jiang Zemin, graduated from the Second Physics Department of Fudan University in 1977. After that, he went to the United States to obtain a doctoral degree. After returning to China, he became the vice president of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. One year later, in 1978, 15-year-old junior high school graduate Zhang Shoucheng was admitted to the Second Physics Department. The school selected him to study in Germany. Zhang later became a tenured professor of physics at Stanford University. Tsinghua University’s Institute of Advanced Studies employed him a few years ago. Every year he spent a long time in China to conduct research and to teach students.

Cheng added that most of the people who came to study in the United States in the 1980s later received a Ph.D. in physics. Most of them have been connected with Chinese science and technology units and universities. They gradually brought Western technology to China and China also provided them with many benefits.

Cheng said that, for many years, stealing Western technology has been a clear goal of the Communist Party. It is only in recent years that the government has opened it up as the “Thousand Talents Program” and believes that it can be publicized in a high profile.

Source: Voice of America, January 22, 2019