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Wed Sep 15, 2021, 04:41 AM

Abolish Trump-era 'China Initiative', academics urge, amid racial profiling criticism

Source: The Guardian

Abolish Trump-era ‘China Initiative’, academics urge, amid racial profiling criticism

Stanford University professors say the programme is fuelling racism and harming US competitiveness, rather than uncovering spies in universities

Vincent Ni China affairs correspondent
Wed 15 Sep 2021 03.00 BST

Calls are growing to abolish a controversial Trump-era initiative that looks for Chinese spies at US universities, which critics say has resulted in racial profiling and harmed technological competitiveness.

In a letter sent to the Department of Justice, 177 faculty members across 40 departments at Stanford University asked the US government to cease operating the “China Initiative”. They argue the programme harms academic freedom by racially profiling and unfairly targeting Chinese academics.

The letter follows the acquittal last week by a US federal judge of a researcher accused of concealing ties with China while receiving American taxpayer-funded grants.

“We understand that concerns about Chinese government-sanctioned activities including intellectual property theft and economic espionage are important to address,” the Stanford academics wrote. “We believe, however, that the China Initiative has deviated significantly from its claimed mission: it is harming the United States’ research and technology competitiveness and it is fuelling biases that, in turn, raise concerns about racial profiling.”

On Thursday, a federal judge in Tennessee acquitted Anming Hu, an ethnic Chinese nanotechnology expert at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, who had been accused of concealing his ties to Beijing while applying for research funding to work on a Nasa project. The judge said the US government hadn’t proven its case.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/sep/15/abolish-trump-era-china-initiative-academics-urge-amid-racial-profiling-criticism

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