Washington’s paranoia toward China spreads to campuses

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/3/3 20:32:08

The University of Minnesota recently suspended its exchanges with China's Huawei Technologies. In a memorandum sent to the university deans, Vice President for Research Chris Cramer said "we consider it prudent to suspend our interactions with Huawei" given the "extraordinary level of concern" raised by federal indictments. 

According to the university, Huawei funds its research through gifts to the University of Minnesota Foundation. The university said Huawei "expressed an interest in networking and advanced technologies." Huawei is also a member of "the multi-university Center for Research in Intelligent Storage, where it sponsors research on memory and data structures."

The university also decided to end cooperation with the Confucius Institute. The University of Minnesota's Confucius Institute will close at the end of the semester.

Minnesota is not the first university to cut ties with Huawei and the Confucius Institute. This shows Washington's strategy that regards Beijing as a rival has spread widely in the US. Staying away from Huawei and the Confucius Institute is in line with Washington's new political correctness and also brings fewer troubles.

Washington's recent moves have clearly demonstrated to Chinese people how to raise vigilance and prevent potential penetration and intelligence theft. China had exposed its communication network and higher education system to US companies and foundations. It is hard to imagine how we were able to fall asleep during that period.

Being on guard against China seems to be becoming the conscious behavior of an increasing number of American universities. Huawei and the Confucius Institute remain unchanged, but certain American universities have changed attitude and consider it unsafe to cooperate with them. Reasons partly lie in the US government's request as well as domestic public pressure. In addition, these universities are giving up their independence and following the trend.

China must face up to the reality and abandon the fantasy that the above phenomena are exceptional. Meanwhile, we shouldn't be bothered by it too much.. We ought to neither try too hard to maintain relations with the universities nor take the initiative to reduce China-US non-governmental exchanges by cutting off contact with  US universities.

We still have to promote healthier China-US ties, especially non-governmental exchanges. Be as it may, Chinese people are aware that nothing forcibly done is going to be agreeable. When the US wants to break exchanges, let it go ahead.

Universities in the 21st century must adapt to globalization. Both China and the US have provided the leading driving force for globalization. US universities can hardly skip Chinese elements. Chinese students, talent, resources and demand are indispensable to the generational growth of US universities.

When Chinese tech giants like Huawei meet obstruction in communication with US institutions, they should allocate their funds to the scientific research of Chinese universities. From a long-term perspective, the development of China's high-tech companies is based on the improvement of domestic scientific research and education dynamics while attracthing high-quality resources from abroad.

The US has been using such a system and it attracts global talent. As for China, its scientific research and education system should be self-reliant as well as highly open. The ability to be self-reliant determines the quality of China's opening-up.

The action of the University of Minnesota is thought-provoking. Regardless of whether the US is open or closed, China must open itself. The overreaction of the US should sound the alarm bell and serve as a warning for us.

Newspaper headline: Washington’s paranoia spreads to campuses

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