Academic block on China is a sleeping pill, not a US remedy

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/4/20 4:44:19

At a US congressional hearing, Francis Collins, Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), said that foreign teachers and researchers at US universities would lose their jobs if suspected of accepting foreign government funding. Media reports indicated the word "foreign" was mainly about China. It was also announced that Chinese graduate students and PhD candidates in science-related fields, such as robotics and aviation, would be hit with new restrictions when applying for five-year F1 visas. Afterward, Western media voiced concerns that resistance to US-China academic exchanges was spreading into broader territory. 

Over the past year, some 200 Chinese social science professors, academy heads, and researchers have had their US visas revoked or have been denied entrance into the country. The NIH actions have further exacerbated tension among US-China relations. It seems "decoupling" from China is not a groundless rumor, as evidenced by the actions of US higher-learning institutions. Unfortunately, ongoing difficulties with academic and scientific research exchange between the two countries will not diminish. 

Despite the progress achieved in trade negotiations, the idea of an improved trade relationship has obviously not had an influence on the White House administration's careless actions aimed at curbing China's high-tech development. US research institutions and universities will remain on course to "clean up" their "Chinese elements."

This is what panic looks like when the world's only superpower is faced with real competition. The US has lost confidence in maintaining its high-tech leadership position along the track of globalization. In the act of childish naivete, they "slammed the glass door" to safeguard progress. The US felt threatened by the idea of Chinese and American scientists working together, and also thought Chinese students could "steal" core technology by attending university lectures.

Who are the architects of this "closed-door" mentality that has come to characterize the current White House administration? They represent a throwback to the 19th century, a period when science and technology were considered magic tricks and purposely covered with a black sheet, so audience members could remain ignorant.  

China's science and technology development lags behind the US. The gap is not nearly as wide as it was during the Boxer Indemnity period in the early1900s, which the US used as an opportunity to build universities and hospitals in China. However, today, the gap has narrowed enough for fair competition.

China's scientific and technological progress has been the result of domestic market demand. The country's research investments lead the world, and their tech-consumption has made them the world's largest market. This achievement is also the result of the diligence and intelligence of Chinese consumers and the institutional advantages of China. 

The US cannot control these factors. Why would they think that China's scientific and technological advancements would be hindered if the US prohibited or restricted the Chinese from participating in lectures and seminars, or from enrolling in university degree programs? 

It has to be said that this policy making team is one-sided. Their initiatives function as sleep remedies that help them rest through the night after an overly anxious day of implementing self-serving initiatives.

Some Americans have the wrong idea. Since China's reform and opening-up, Chinese students have studied in the US. Is China the only country that has benefited from this? Many graduates from China's top universities have stayed in the US after graduation. Is the US aware of the distress this has caused Chinese society? If the majority of China's top graduates had to stay in China, would anyone believe that it would be harmful to the country? 

Obstructing the academic exchange between the two countries will further isolate the US, a result due to their actions. The US is choosing to ignore unlimited opportunities to expand scientific exchange with China. It is inevitable the Chinese market will achieve worldwide cooperation, including all things within the high-tech sector. And what the White House administration isn't aware of is that the US is not powerful enough to stop the spread of globalization.

The US is behaving unreasonably. From China's perspective, counter-measures against the US will be made. However, it isn't necessary to overestimate the strategic significance of the US, and characterize their detachment as a manifestation of a "New Cold War." 

Simply put, the US is acting petty and wants to keep everything inside their pockets while simultaneously taking advantage of cheap trade with China. The US, on the whole, has grown into a profit-seeking figure, well-versed in playground trickery, that tries to avoid the risks that a real "New Cold War" has to offer.

The Trump administration's China policy violates the fundamental principles of globalization and will not likely continue much longer. By remaining rational and calm, China can tolerate the nonsensical actions of the US. The sky will not fall, and China's only obligation will be to mind its own business.  



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