Executive Intelligence Review
Subscribe to EIR


Ban on Chinese Space Researchers Reversed, Thanks to
Mobilization by Scientists

Oct. 20, 2013 (EIRNS)—A threatened boycott by prominent scientists of an upcoming conference on exoplanet data from the Kepler spacecraft has now resulted in the lifting of the ban on the participation of their Chinese colleagues.

The Kepler conference organizers had banned Chinese nationals from attending the upcoming conference at the Ames Research Center, a NASA facility in California, because they feared their attendance would break a law authored by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA, which prohibits space cooperation with China. As reported October 20 on xinhuanet the scientists have now been told that, concerning their colleagues, who have been doing research at U.S. universities, the legislation does not apply to Chinese nationals who are not working for the Chinese government.

The ban on U.S. cooperation with China in space did not originate with the 2011 law, as Wolf has put that proviso into previous NASA budgets. This has been a multi-decade campaign to try to isolate China, most recently codified in President Obama's "Asia pivot." The ostensible purpose of the space cooperation ban and high-technology trade restrictions is to hamper China's development in these fields. In this, it is an obvious failure.

Actually, President Obama could have stepped in and avoided this whole mess, had he wanted to do. The Wolf legislation gives the President the prerogative to waive any security concerns on a case-by-case basis, and allow space cooperation with China. As the American scientists have pointed out, they fail to see the security implications of what scientists are finding out about extrasolar planets, billions of miles away.