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Academia cautions FBI not to “violate norms of due process” in monitoring Chinese scientists

By David Schwartz
Published: August 19th, 2019

Twenty-two higher education associations and rights groups today have released a statement in response to a push by the FBI, the NIH, and other government officials to monitor Chinese scholars working at U.S. universities.

“This move seemingly stems from growing suspicion that the Chinese government is engaged in espionage of American higher education, with the aim of stealing data and intellectual property,” reads the statement, whose signatories include the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). “However, this is an area where the government must tread carefully.”

The statement acknowledged that the concern about Chinese espionage likely has some validity, but argues that “calls to monitor individuals solely based on their country of origin violate norms of due process and should raise alarms in a democracy.”

The groups note that the government’s approach could “cast suspicion on potentially hundreds of thousands of students and scholars,” pointing out that in 2018 about 340,000 Chinese students were attending U.S. schools. The statement expresses worry that important, ongoing research by these students and other scholars could be hurt, and that international researchers could be discouraged from coming to the U.S. – a development that might result in the loss beneficial research discoveries.

The sentiments echo those of the Chinese-American scientists who published a letter in Science in March arguing that racial profiling by the government would cause more damage to U.S. science than any lost data or IP.

Source: The Scientist

Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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