中美學術界全面脫鈎（三）/ Decoupling Between Chinese and American Academic Circles (Part 3)
In the previous articles, it was mentioned that American politicians, in an effort to curb the growth of China's technology industry, have used administrative measures to sever academic exchanges between the two countries, in order to prevent technology leaks. One of the most controversial actions implemented by the U.S. Department of Justice is the "China Initiative," which can be considered a "witch hunt" against Chinese scientists.
The China Initiative was announced by former U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in November 2018, with the aim of identifying and prosecuting all "technology spies" with connections to China who are operating in the United States. According to The Economist article, the initiative has been less effective than anticipated. Around 150 Chinese-American scholars have been investigated by the Department of Justice under this initiative. In the cases where successful prosecutions have occurred, the defendants have faced relatively minor charges such as fraudulently obtaining research funding, rather than espionage charges. In many cases, the Department of Justice has been unable to find sufficient evidence to prove that the suspects were engaged in any espionage activities for China, resulting in the charges being dropped and becoming a subject of ridicule. One notable failed case of the China Initiative is the investigation against Professor Gang Chen at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Professor Gang Chen is a Chinese mechanical engineer who obtained his doctoral degree in the United States. An article in The New York Times pointed out that the FBI arrested Professor Chen in January 2021, accusing him of failing to disclose his connections to China in his research funding applications. However, MIT supported Professor Chen, and the FBI failed to find substantial evidence for prosecution, leading to the case being dropped by the Department of Justice. Nevertheless, the incident has caused damage to Professor Chen's reputation and career.
Apart from Professor Chen, many other Chinese scholars have lost their jobs and have even been included in the U.S. government's "no-fly list," preventing them from traveling to, transiting through, or leaving the United States by air, due to being investigated under the China Initiative.
Eventually, due to the lack of significant results, the U.S. Department of Justice announced the end of the China Initiative in February 2022, after several years of implementation.
In fact, if Chinese and American academic circles completely decouple, it would be detrimental to both sides, as they can complement each other in different technological fields. A research report published by the University of Arizona in 2020 showed that the number of scientific and engineering papers published by the United States experienced a slight decline between 2014 and 2018 because co-authored papers with Chinese scholars were not included in the calculations. It can be said that this approach has backfired. Therefore, I believe that China and the United States should adhere to the principles of equality and mutual benefit, set aside biases, and quickly restore academic exchanges and cooperation between the two sides.