Leaked Chinese database show company’s interest in Australia’s space and science sector

Australia’s fledgling space sector is proving to be a hot target for Chinese snooping, with Beijing tracking the movement of top-secret equipment from a tracking station outside Canberra to NASA in the United States.

And Commonwealth scientists with world-leading expertise have also been targeted by a Chinese company with links to the People’s Liberation Army.

A leaked database developed by Shenzhen-based data company Zhenhua Data, obtained by the ABC as part of an international consortium of media outlets, has more than 70 records that reference CSIRO’s staff and classified operations.

One entry shows Zhenhua Data monitored the March 2019 transfer of “scientific equipment” from Canberra’s Deep Space Communication Complex at Tidbinbilla all the way across the Pacific Ocean to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

It records the name of the German-flagged container ship that took the cargo, as well as the Los Angeles-based customs company that took possession

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This constant mistrust of Chinese science and technology must be countered



a close up of a hand holding a remote control: A potential Covid-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua


A potential Covid-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing. Photo: Xinhua

I’m a biochemical engineer by training, and thus the topic of developing and governing science and technology is a topic very close to my heart. Living in Hong Kong, I’ve been influenced by my experiences over the past 25 years working in the region and the great strides that China has made.

Many of us in the arenas of science and technology have lost sight of the purpose of science and technological development. Human advances in science and technology over the past 20 years have exceeded the expectations of most of us who entered these fields. However, due to technological overreach, we can now reshape almost everything. We are reshaping the planet and the planetary boundaries with our incursions into natural systems.

Leaving Hong Kong isn’t the answer. Staying and building a new one is

Those

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