US row threatens Chinese links

Dispute intensifies over a ban on some types of scientific cooperation with China.

Eugenie Samuel Reich, 18 October 2011 | Nature | doi:10.1038/478294a

When US presidential science adviser John Holdren hosted a dinner and meetings between US and Chinese science officials in May, he must have known it would lead to a high-level stand-off. That came to pass on 11 October, when the Govern­ment Accountability Office (GAO), an arm of Congress, concluded in a report that those activities violated legislation banning scientific cooperation with China by NASA and by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), which Holdren directs.

Frank Wolf (Republican, Virginia), the congressman who chairs the subcommittee that funds science agencies including the OSTP and NASA, inserted the ban into a spending bill that was passed last spring. Now, backed by the GAO report, he has asked the US Department of Justice to rein in Holdren’s China-related activities; if the department refuses to do so, the matter could end up in the courts. …

Relations between the United States and China have their roots in a historic 1972 visit to Beijing by US president Richard Nixon. That led to a 1979 agreement between the two govern­ments for cooperation on scientific activities. Suttmeier estimates that US agencies now have more than 30 agreements on scientific cooperation with their equivalents in the Chinese government. The US National Science Foundation (NSF) opened an office in Beijing in 2006, and the US Department of Energy founded a US$150-million Clean Energy Research Center with China in 2009. Chinese researchers are now more likely to collaborate and co-author papers with scientists from the United States than with those from any other country.

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2 Responses to US row threatens Chinese links

  1. Alan Burke says:

    Not surprisingly, in the USA and Canada both, the right wing ideologues continue their “War on Science”

  2. Alan Burke says:

    From the Guardian Environment Network:

    How a smoggy Chinese city turned green
    Shenyang – once a key in Mao Zedong’s push to industrialize China – has begun to emerge from its smoggy past, cleaning up its factories and expanding its green spaces

    Almost every day of his childhood, He Xin remembers the skies in his hometown of Shenyang being gray. “If I wore a white shirt to school, by the end of the day it would be brown,” recalls He, who was born in 1974, “and there would be a ring of black soot under the collar.”

    He grew up in Shenyang (population 8 million), the capital of northeastern China’s Liaoning province, a city famous for its heavy industry and manufacturing — and soot and pollution. Growing up, the view he remembers most vividly was looking out over Shenyang’s fabled Tiexi industrial district, home to several large iron and steel plants and the site of China’s first model workers village: “When I was a teenager, if I climbed a tall building to look out over Tiexi, all I would see was a forest of large smokestacks, chimneys, and dark, billowing smoke.”

    But today all that is gone. No longer standing are Tiexi’s iconic smokestacks and its blocks of red brick workers’ dormitories, with their rows of coal-fired chimneys atop. Now He is the vice president of the environmental consultancy BioHaven and splits his time between Shenyang, Beijing, and St. Louis. To him, Shenyang looks almost unrecognizable today.

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