Recently a China sponsored student organization (Columbia University Chinese Students and Scholars Association or CUCSSA) at Columbia University (in New York) was shut down for violations of rules concerning finances and operational policies. The university administrators had been informed, apparently, apparently by the U.S. government and Columbia students, of the frequent use of CUCSSA for political and espionage functions.

China has long used “social organizations” of Chinese citizens overseas to achieve Chinese intelligence and diplomatic goals. It was also no secret that any Chinese citizen going overseas, to study or on business, was obliged to cooperate with requests (often benign) from Chinese intelligence. All this begins when Chinese intelligence officials examine who is going overseas and for what purpose. Chinese citizens cannot leave the country legally without the state security organizations being notified. The intel people are not being asked to give permission. They are being alerted in case they want to have a talk with students, tourists, or business people before they leave the country. Interviews are often held when these people come back as well.

Those who might be coming in contact with useful information are asked to remember what they saw or bring back souvenirs. Over 100,000 Chinese students go off to foreign universities each year.

The joke will be on China, though, when they start demanding “safe spaces” and denouncing “microaggressions” on their return.