Halting tech exchanges will harm US more

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/6/11 21:53:40

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has banned its scientists and most contractors from participating in talent-recruitment programs sponsored by foreign governments, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday. Its personnel are demanded to either cut off their links with foreign sponsors or resign from the department and its affiliated labs. The move is widely believed to be the latest US move against China.

The DOE's decision will not only affect scientists within its sphere who have any connection with China, but also set a bad example for other departments that it is open season to intensify China-US tensions. 

In 2018, the US National Institutes of Health investigated whether US scientists were sharing ideas with foreign governments.

This is obviously not good and will greatly hurt openness in the US by tearing down a pillar that supports it as a superpower. Being at the center of global talent flows has helped the US prosper. However, the extreme guard against China has made the US close its door. This is an act of self-destruction. 

When the US suddenly regards everything as secret and refuses technology exchanges with China, the only option for us is to adapt to it and strengthen our own innovation. We should guarantee that these acts by the US to stymie China's general opening-up will have no serious effect.   

Technological interactions with the US in the past decades have actively promoted China's development. However, this is the result of globalization rather than so-called theft from the US. 

In this process, the US itself has benefited from ready access to China's huge market and consolidated its advantages in technology and research. Without China, it would have been impossible for the US to go from dominating the West to leading the world.

Science, technology and industry in China have formed complete or relatively complete systems. It is understandable the US is starting to close its door toward China. But by doing so, it would be out of the question for Washington to maintain or widen the gap with China in science and technology.

China's Thousand Talents Program is public and accessible on relevant websites. China does not believe the program will pose a threat to US national security and it never thought about carrying out the program under the table. 

Washington could have expressed its unhappiness to Beijing, asking the latter to have more consideration for its concerns when recruiting highly skilled personnel. If Washington had expressed concern, Beijing would have actively responded.

Time will tell if US technological decoupling from China will harm its national interests. In the meantime, we must note that the US should not turn such a guarded stance into large-scale persecution against scientists of Chinese origin in the US or violate their basic rights. 

We can't help but be concerned that this move will end in a return to the McCarthyism of the 1950s, which harmed many innocent people of Chinese origin in the US.

If US actions cause deterioration in the environment for Chinese scientists in the country and force them back to China, just as McCarthyism did, the US will not be in a position to point the finger of blame at China this time.

Posted in: EDITORIAL

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