NASA conference, China has slammed for its decision to ban Chinese scientists from an upcoming meeting in California, saying it is “discriminatory.”
NASA announced that Chinese nationals would not be allowed to attend the Kepler space telescope program conference at the Ames Research Center next month for national security reasons, according to reports.
The decision is based on a 2011 U.S. law that prevents NASA funds from being used to collaborate with China or to host Chinese visitors from its facilities.
Some American scientists have also criticized the decision, and have called for a boycott of the conference.
“In good conscience, I cannot attend a meeting that discriminates in this way. The meeting is about planets located trillions of miles away, with no national security implications,” said Geoff Marcy, an astronomy professor at the University of California, Berkeley, in an email to the organizers that was published in the media.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in the state-run People’s Daily newspaper that “NASA’s discriminatory practice has led to many U.S. and European scientists boycotting the conference. The conference itself should not be politicized.”
Gong Li, Director of the Institute of International Strategic Studies of the Party School of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, compared the ban to U.S. action against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. He said it showed U.S. fear of China’s fast development.
In the statement, Mr. Wolf said, “I was concerned to read an October 4 article in The Guardian that reported on poor guidance about these policies with regard to restrictions on Chinese nationals attending a NASA conference next month. Unfortunately, the article is riddled with inaccuracies, as is, it appears, the guidance provided by NASA Ames staff to the attendees.
“As you know, the congressional provision — which has been in place since early 2011 — primarily restricts bilateral, not multilateral, meetings and activities with the Communist Chinese government or Chinese-owned companies. It places no restrictions on activities involving individual Chinese nationals unless those nationals are acting as official representatives of the Chinese government.”
Earlier this year there was a potential security breach by a Chinese citizen at a NASA facility which resulted in extra temporary restrictions on foreign nationals. NASA conference Image/NASA/universetoday.com