Stanford professors urge U.S. to end program looking for Chinese spies in academia

Sept 13 (Reuters) – A group of Stanford University professors has asked the Justice Department to stop looking for Chinese spies at U.S. universities, joining an effort by human rights groups to end a Trump administration program they said caused racial profiling and was terrorizing some scientists.

The “China Initiative,” launched in late 2018, aimed to prevent U.S. technology theft by China but has since “deviated significantly from its claimed mission,” according to a Sept. 8 letter signed by 177 Stanford faculty members and made public by them on Monday.

“(I)t is harming the United States’ research and technology competitiveness and it is fueling biases that, in turn, raise concerns about racial profiling,” the letter said.

That letter is now being supported by about 140 University of California, Berkeley professors who have signed on since late last week, according to Randy Schekman, Berkeley professor and Nobel prize winner for physiology or medicine.

Asked about criticism of the China Initiative, Justice Department spokesperson Wyn Hornbuckle said the government was “dedicated to countering unlawful (Chinese) government efforts to undermine America’s national security and harm our economy,” while acknowledging the threat of hate crimes against Asia Americans. “We take seriously concerns about discrimination,” he said.

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Source: Reuters

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