US’ politicizing exchanges hinders progress in aerospace

By Ai Jun Source:Global Times Published: 2017/3/23 0:23:39

The US embassy in Beijing recently denied a visa to Yu Guobin, vice director of China's Lunar and Space Exploration Engineering Center, who planned to attend the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas this week, with no explanation given for the refusal, Space News reported Tuesday.

Quite a few participants from the US articulated their disappointment by arguing that "This is another example of how current policy is harming science."

That the US is closing its doors to Chinese, especially those in the aerospace industry, is hardly news. Thanks to the Chinese exclusion policy of NASA, which took effect in 2011 due to concerns about national security, all personnel from NASA and the Office of Science and Technology in the White House are forbidden to work bilaterally with China.

What exactly is the root cause of the phenomenon? An article in Time Magazine entitled "The Silly Reason the Chinese Aren't Allowed on the Space Station" provides the answer - geopolitics. It noted that according to US studies, Beijing views space power "as one aspect of a broad international competition in comprehensive national strength" and may jeopardize US leadership.

Ironically, it sounds quite similar to the space race between the US and former Soviet Union during the Cold War. Didn't the US initiate its first ever space program because the former Soviet Union launched the world's first artificial satellite, Sputnik? No matter how many plausible reasons the US listed for its space exploration, it is the competitive pressure from the former Soviet Union that drove US space development. So when it offers the same reasons today for rejecting collaboration with China, it seems that Washington has never put the Cold War behind it.

As for the excuse of national security or anti-espionage, numerous cases, including those involving ethnic Chinese scholars in the US Xi Xiaoxing and Sherry Chen, prove that the US has been fabricating false accusations out of thin air.

Facing the emergence of China, nothing can better describe the US' mentality than the word "anxiety," which is well reflected in NASA's policy.

Exchanges among researchers are beneficial to both Beijing and Washington. China has indeed learned a lot from the US since reform and opening-up, yet Beijing also has a number of its own innovations, with many Chinese technologies now leading the world. When it comes to aerospace technology, there is absolutely no need for today's China to even think about stealing from the US. But in any case, communication and exchange will surely deliver more inspiration and progress on both sides.



blog comments powered by Disqus