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Concerning Sentiments

Scientists in China are troubled by increasing anti-Chinese sentiment in the US, Science reports.

Last year, Francis Collins, the director of the US National Institutes of Health said that he was concerned about the "robustness" of the biomedical enterprise in the country and was in particular worried about the diversion of intellectual property to foreign countries. This led the agency in March to send letters to US institutions to ask about their researchers' potentially undisclosed ties to foreign governments and has led to dismissals at MD Anderson Cancer Center and Emory University. But as the inquiries focused largely on Chinese and Chinese-American researchers, they have also raised concerns about racial profiling.

Science reports that researchers in China dismiss the notion that there is a widespread move for Chinese researchers to steal US researchers' ideas and say investigations of Chinese and Chinese-American researchers will only hurt science, both in the US and China as it will put a damper on collaboration.

Experts further tell it that the worries about China are based on an outdated model of US and Chinese research — that knowledge only goes from the US to China. "That may have been the case years ago, but exchanges have gone from being asymmetrical to now having greater parity," Denis Simon from Duke Kunshan University tells it.