Investigations under the China Initiative launched by the U.S. Department of Justice in 2018 may have caused valuable researchers of Chinese descent to leave the U.S. for China, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The study doesn't confirm causation between the initiative and the departures. Its data, from 2010 to 2021, shows that the annual number of Chinese-descent scientists leaving the U.S. was steadily increasing before 2018. But the trend greatly accelerated that year.
"The migration has increased during those 12 years, from 900 scientists in 2010 to 2,621 in 2021, with an accelerated departure rate (75 percent higher) in the last three years . . . coinciding with the launch of the China Initiative in 2018," the authors write.
The China Initiative has openly investigated about 150 academic scientists and prosecuted two dozen with criminal charges, the paper says.
The investigations cause "general feelings of fear and anxiety" that lead academics "to consider leaving the United States and/or stop applying for federal grants," the authors say. "If the situation is not corrected, American science will likely suffer the loss of scientific talent to China and other countries."
From Inside Higher Ed
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