PALO ALTO, Calif., Sept. 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of leading policy makers, legal experts, educators, business leaders, scientists, and community leaders convened in Silicon Valley to tackle the impact of rising U.S. – China tensions on the Chinese American community and American society as a whole. Brought together by the Committee of 100 (C100), a non-profit American organization of prominent and extraordinary Chinese Americans, the group detailed a heightened rise in scrutiny of Chinese Americans and people of Chinese descent, especially those who work in science and technology, and the chilling effect on civil liberties, as well as American science, technology and research initiatives.
"With growing U.S. – China tensions and fears of Chinese espionage, we hear clearly from our members that Asian Americans, especially those who work in the STEM fields, are facing an increasingly hostile environment where our loyalty is being consistently and unfairly challenged," said H. Roger Wang, chairman, Committee of 100. "We are a nation built on immigrants, and we must not allow our fears to create an environment that erodes America's talent pool nor America's values of equal opportunity for all, freedom of inquiry, scientific integrity, and openness."
C100 research from 2017 shows that the percentage of people of Chinese heritage charged under the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) tripled from 2009 to 2017, and that defendants of Asian heritage convicted of espionage received sentences over twice as severe as those of other ethnicities.
At the conference, speakers detailed the negative impact of a climate of fear and suspicion on individual scientists and researchers, as well as on a wide range of industries, universities, research institutions and businesses critical to U.S. innovation and economic leadership.
- Gary Locke, former U.S. Ambassador to China and former U.S. Secretary of Commerce: "The U.S. – China relationship is the world's most consequential bi-lateral relationship. We must be concerned about security concerns and condemn illegal activity, but in recent years there have been many cases of wrongful prosecution. Our pride in our heritage does not mean we are any less loyal or patriotic to America."
- Professor Susan Shirk, Chair, 21st Century China Center at the School of Global Policy & Strategy, UC San Diego, and former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State: "China and the U.S. wove together a dense fabric of trade, technology, and education – forming a nexus of what became globalization. To preserve America's open society and vibrant research environment, we should double down on American openness, not put limitations on scientific collaboration."
- Dr. David D. Ho, Renowned HIV Scientist; Scientific Director, Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center; Former Time Magazine Man of the Year: "There's a chill in the air for Chinese and Chinese-American scientists. Over 250 scientists are being investigated in over 60 institutions, many of whom are Chinese or Chinese-American. Science depends on open and free exchange. Science has no borders. Science by definition is global. The real threat is not from occasional cases of espionage; the real threat is not believing in science, and the creation of a toxic environment that drives away talented Chinese and Chinese-American scientists."
- Thomas F. Rosenbaum, President, California Institute of Technology: "The strength of the United States as a scientific, technological and economic power has depended crucially on immigration. Recent demonstrated examples of violations of scientific ethics, coupled with fears for U.S. economic competitiveness and national security, may well lead to governmental restrictions that broadly and severely restrict the flow of people and ideas."
- Dr. John L. Hennessy, Chairman, Alphabet Inc.; President Emeritus, Stanford University: "Immigrants come to this country to make America a better country. There are a number of important American companies with foreign born founders. If you cut that off, you cut off an important part of our nation's economic vitality."
As an output of the conference, C100 will generate recommendations to share with congressional leaders, the scientific and educational communities, law-enforcement, businesses, and civic organizations and communities.
Conference Chair Charlie Woo noted, "It is our hope to come together and find balanced solutions that protect national security, uphold the civil liberties of all Americans, and continue to foster the welcoming environment for the development of science, technology and research that America has always been known for."
About Committee of 100
Committee of 100 (C100) is a non-profit U.S. leadership organization of prominent and extraordinary Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, and the arts. Founded by world-renowned architect I.M. Pei and internationally acclaimed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, among others, it is an institution of U.S. citizens of Chinese heritage. For 30 years, C100 has served as a preeminent organization committed to the dual missions of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life and constructive relations between the United States and Greater China.
SOURCE Committee of 100