Letter From Rep. Wolf to NASA Administrator Bolden Regarding China and the ISS

Status Report From: Rep. Frank Wolf
Posted: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

image March 5, 2012

Administrator Charles F. Bolden, Jr.
300 E St SW Mailstop 9042
Washington DC 20546

Dear Administrator Bolden:

I was concerned to read in the enclosed article [Some space station partners appear ready to welcome China into the group] that during your recent meeting with International Space Station (ISS) partners in Quebec City, there was discussion of including the Peoples Republic of China in the program. Given that the U.S. led the effort -- and made the largest investment -- to construct the ISS, NASA should make clear that the U.S. will not accept Chinese participation in any station-related activities.

Some of our international partners may not be aware that the Chinese "civilian" space program is directly run by the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). According to recent testimony given to the Senate, Defense Intelligence Agency chief Gen. Ron Burgess said, "Beijing rarely acknowledges direct military applications of its space program..."

Our partners may also be unaware that the Chinese have been aggressively stealing space technology for more than two decades. Gen. Burgess reported that, "China has used its intelligence services to gather information via a significant network of agents and contacts using a variety of methods ... In recent years, multiple cases of economic espionage and theft of dual use and military technology have uncovered pervasive Chinese collection efforts."

As chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA - and the author of the statute banning bilateral cooperation with the Chinese - 1 believe that any effort to involve the Chinese in the space program would be misguided, and not in our national interest. The U.S. has no business cooperating with the PLA to help develop its space program. We also should be wary of any agreements that involve the transfer of technology or sensitive information to Chinese institutions or companies, many of which are controlled by the government and the PLA I would appreciate a detailed report on the nature of the discussions from the meeting in Quebec with regard to proposed Chinese involvement with ISS.

Best wishes.



Frank R. Wolf
Member of Congress

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