Beijing on Wednesday criticized the US space agency for "discriminative action" over a decision to exclude Chinese from a forthcoming science conference in the United States.
"I have read relevant reports and also noticed that this discriminative action has met with opposition and sparked a boycott by US and Western scientists," Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing. "We believe that academic or scientific activities should not be politicized," she added.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has announced that Chinese nationals will not be permitted to enter the Second Kepler Science Conference on exoplanets at California's Ames Research Center in November.
The decision sparked criticism by some prominent US astronomers. It also led the US congressman who wrote the law on which the restriction was based to call the decision "inaccurate."
The restriction is based on a law passed in 2011 and signed by President Barack Obama that prevents NASA funds from being used to collaborate with China or to host Chinese visitors at US space agency facilities.
The legal language was inserted into a funding bill by Congressman Frank Wolf, who chairs the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies.
Wolf's office wrote to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on Tuesday, saying the law primarily restricts bilateral, not multilateral, meetings and activities with Chinese government or Chinese-owned companies.
"It places no restrictions on activities involving individual Chinese nationals unless those nationals are acting as official representatives of the Chinese government," it added.
Global Times - AFP