Xiaoxing Xi, Harvard Physics Colloquium - 1/25/2021

Xiaoxing Xi, Harvard Physics Colloquium - 1/25/2021

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okay thank you thank you stephanie for doing all of the administrative work to set this up and i am delighted to welcome professor xiao xingxi to give us a talk today this is a very timely and powerful message that he's going to deliver to us today in light of recent events but let me start by introducing him as a physicist professor xiao xingxi is the laura h carnal professor of physics at temple university and former chair of that department he received his bachelor's and his phd in physics from peking university and he um then he worked for several years at the karlsruhe nuclear research center in germany bell communication research rutgers university and university of maryland before he joined the physics faculty at penn state in 1995 his research focuses on materials physics of oxide boride and two-dimensional calcogenide thin films and his notable contributions include early work on epitaxial thin films heterostructures electric field effect and high temperature superconductors and lattice dynamics in ferroelectric thin films and nanostructures he has invented hybrid physical chemical vapor deposition for magnesium diboride and developed ald molecular beam epitaxy for oxide thin films and interfaces he is the author of over 340 refereed journals and three u.s patents in the area of thin films and high tc superconductors and he is a fellow of the american physical society since so in addition to all of these tremendous accolades as a physicist he has since 2015 devoted a great deal of his energy to speaking out for open collaboration in fundamental research and against racial profiling that gets in the way of open scientific collaboration and for this work uh this humanitarian work speaking out for openness of scientific inquiry and collaboration he received in 2020 the andre sakharov prize from the american physical society which is given to somebody who is an excellent leader in humanitarian work so i'm delighted to welcome professor xiao xingxi today and i think that he's going to give us a really powerful talk thank you so much for being here and speaking to us you're muted shawshank and are you able to screen share okay we see your screen but you're still muted stephanie i believe you're the host can you unmute uh professor xi can you hear me now yes great thank you thanks jenny uh for for the introduction and for inviting me here for the virtual visit today i really enjoyed the meetings with the faculty members and i look forward to meeting the graduate students after the talk now i am honored to be your first colloquium speaker of the year we live in this extraordinary time and it's appropriate to start a new semester by talking about a serious subject scientific espionage open exchange and american competitiveness i i start my talk with the news that shook the scientific world federal investigators at the lexington home of 60-year-old dr charles lieber today moments after his arrest at his harvard office the complaint alleges that dr lieber signed a contract with the chinese university in wuhan and was paid up to fifty thousand dollars per month plus up to a hundred and fifty eight thousand dollars in living expenses the chair of harvard's chemistry department he also allegedly received more than one and a half million dollars to set up a research lab in china all while working at harvard and receiving multiple research grants from the us department of defense and national institutes of health on february 19th 2020 i was interviewed on the npr's boston station when i heard the the case of uh you know charles lever i want to tell people i wanted to tell people one charles lieber it is presumed innocent until proven guilty two from our own personal experience what the government charges is not necessarily true one year later the scientific community was shocked again by another news story from cambridge an mit professor facing federal charges for allegedly failing to disclose his ties to the chinese government we're talking about gang chan here's a photo of him he faces a number of charges including wire fraud and making false statements to a government agency the complaint alleges that chen has held contacts with china since 2012 all while receiving 29 million dollars of foreign funding for his research chen is accused of applying for a department of energy grant to support that research without disclosing his ties to china i want to say again that one guangcheng is presumed innocent until proven guilty and two from my own personal experience what the government charges is not necessarily true i say this because i was the subject of a similar news story on may 21st 2015 the united states justice department is saying that the chairman of the temple university department of physics is an international spy passing off technology secrets to china live on the temple campus tonight is action news reporter wendy saltzman wendy jim professor shao sincey was the head of physics here at temple university specializing in super conductors but this federal indictment alleges that he used defense department funds in order to build technology that he later leaked to leaders in his homeland chinese native xiao xinxi has worked at temple since 2009. this world-renowned physicist now faces four counts of wire fraud for allegedly sharing thin film superconductor technology with the chinese government according to the indictment she turned over sensitive technology and offered to help chinese entities become world leaders in the field and also recruited his post-doctoral students from china to assist in the scheme she built these superconductors using a defense department grant they would allow those who possess the technology to build the fastest electronic devices in the world and they could be used in anti-military defense systems among other applications in return for the information she allegedly sought lucrative and prestigious appointments in china he faces a maximum sentence of 80 years in prison if convicted it was my personal experience to be woken now by loud knocks on my door and find fbi agents outside my house who put handcuffs on me on the spot it was my personal experience to watch armed agents in bulletproof vests bursting into my house shouting fbi fbi and running up my wife and two daughters at gunpoint my younger daughter was only 12 years old at that time it was my personal experience to be taken away from my house without knowing why i was arrested and when i will see my family again all for something i never did the sensitive technology i was charged with stealing was a device called pocket heater the indictment against me said that a u.s company sti invented the pocket heater that revolutionized the field of superconducting magnesium dibora thin film growth and i stole it for chinese government entities in an effort to help them become world leaders in the field of superconductivity the charges were totally false i had never shared sti pocket heater information with anyone in china further i don't understand why the government even cared about this pocket heater it is not classified not sensitive not a trade secret and not export controlled and it had little commercial value it was invented in 1993 by a german professor for high tc superconductor films it looks like a danish cookie can with an opening on its cover the inside of the pocket is filled with oxygen and the spinning platen rotates the substrate on it from the opening where metals are deposited to the inside to be oxidized in a community it is widely known as the kinder heater after the professor's name in 2003 sdi modified the kinder heater for magnesium dibor instead of oxygen it fills the pocket with magnesium vapor it creates magnesium diabolic films with poorer quality than the technique my group by penn state had already developed the government charged me for scheming to steal this publicly available technology which is inferior to my own technique which somehow would make the chinese world leaders in superconductivity the charges were not only false they were laughable there were four cons against me based on four emails i sent to chinese colleagues from my temple university email address count one confirms that certain technology has been delivered to a laboratory in china but a certain technology had nothing to do with the poppy leader here is the actual email which was clearly about superconducting rf cavities for our collaboration with colleagues at shanghai institute of applied physics the synap the system was built by my collaborators at synapse using a tube heater to coat the inside wall of srf cavity which is a three-dimensional object you cannot do this with the sci pocket heater which is for flat films it was based on the hp cvd technique my group at penn state had developed and the experience from this collaboration helped my later research at temple university resulting in numerous publications kangs224 charged me for offering to build a world class in film laboratory in china they were not even about magnesium diboride they were about oxides in films being innocent does not automatically mean that i will be exonerated i was fortunate to have found a team of great lawyers for my defense it consisted of a lead council from washington dc who was the leader of the team a local council from philadelphia who was familiar with the local court and an iep attorney who can communicate effectively between scientists and the lawyers my lawyer contacted top expert in my research field and a co-inventor of the pocket heater or ruby and gave them all my email communications with chinese colleagues ruby said i'm very familiar with the pocket heater as i was one of the co-inventors after examining these emails they all concluded in their affidavits that i did not share the pocket heater technology with china in these emails armed with these affidavits my lawyer gave a 48 slides presentation to the government on the signs of the case and i'm showing you a couple of slides here they told prosecutors and fbi agents that the two peter i discussed with colleagues at synapse shown on the left is unrelated to the sdi pocket heater shown on the right they don't even look similar they have different principles different designs and different usages from each other they told the government that magnesium double right is not an oxide an oxide contains oxygen atoms in its chemical formula and there is no oxygen atom in magnesium dioxide oxides need oxygen in the thin film growth while we want to avoid any oxygen in the deposition of magnesium diorite at the end my lawyers made a request to the government find your own expert give them all my communications with chinese colleagues and ask is there ever any evidence that professor xi shared any pictures drawings or schematics of the stm mgb2 pocket heater we also shared with the government a draft motion to dismiss the indictment which we were ready to file with the court is that the government entire prosecution is based on the presentation of false and misleading testimony to the grand jury premised on the faulty understanding of basic and non-controversial scientific principles and the concepts by an fbi agent who was not qualified to be the government's sole witness before the grand jury on september 11 2015 the government dismissed the case citing additional information came to the attention of the government on september 17th i went to my lab for the first time in four months my group welcomed me back with a bouquet of flowers and we were so glad to see each other again however my life and my career would never be the same since then i have been telling anybody who would care to listen about the lessons that i have learned from this horrific experience lesson number one is what i have told you at the beginning of this talk when you see a doj news release like this charging someone for stealing secrets from china remember it is not necessarily true in my case what they said was totally false here is another good example this doj news release said that university of kansas chemistry professor franklin tall unlawfully received federal grant money at the same time that he was employed by a chinese research university a fact he hid from his university and federal agencies you can actually go to the pacer website at pacer.gov to read all the federal court documents here is what i have learned about franklin house case on august 21st 2019 the government indicted tao for having signed a full-time employment contract with future university but did not disclose it to university of kansas on the conflict of interest forms on november 17 2019 that tao filed a motion to dismiss the indictment saying that he never signed any contract thus had nothing to disclose then on january 15 2020 the government hit pow with a superseding indictment it did not say tau signed the contract anymore but charged him for failing to disclose his selection by the talents program even though he has never accept the offer on june 24 2020 the government modified his theory again in a second superseding in diamond they said tao entered into a contract started his employment and fulfilled his contractual obligations how could they say this knowing paul signed no contract they said because tau traveled to china and engaged in research activities at fujo university on august 14 2020 tao filed a motion to dismiss the second superseding in diamond saying university of kansas is conflict of interest form did not require disclosure of his relationships with future university further the government lied to the grand jury for example they knew bought out teaching for spring 19 but told the grand juries that paul's request was not successful on september 11 2020 the government responded to tao's motion repeating the allegations that tao obtained employment at future university entered into an agreement with the chinese government and received a handsome annual salary from future university knowing full well that tau accepted no offer on august 20 2020 several asian american civil rights organizations filed an amicus brief with the court on behalf of tao saying that the government is targeting chinese american scientists and the researchers based on their ancestry rather than suspected criminal activity and then the rich and the racially biased persecutions are causing immense harm to the chinese and asian american and immigrant communities this leads to lesson number two innocent chinese american scientists are being unfairly targeted people ask me what triggered fbi to target me to this day i don't know what i do know is that there is a pattern for innocent chinese scientists to be charged only for the charges to be dropped or the case collapsed before my case there was national weather service hydrologist sherry chen and eli lily biologist goyowitz after my case there was michigan state professor ningxi to name professor ahab mesohe and karlin hu scientist xin zhao and visiting scientists at the university of virginia hijo hu it is extremely rare for the government to drop cases yet there are so many drop cases involving chinese scientists in world war ii when the united states was at war with japan the u.s government locked up over 100 000 japanese in internment camps many of them american citizens they were suspected of signaling to japanese aircrafts using flashlights today as the tension between the u.s and china

is rising rapidly chinese students scientists and professors are suspected of stealing intellectual properties for china in 2018 the department of justice established a china initiative to prioritize economic espionage cases related to china according to professor maggie lewis of seton hall university naming a law enforcement initiative after country is unprecedented and it attached a criminal paint to undertake an even tangential nexus to china but if you look at the doj's own website on the china initiative cases you'll find that as of november 12 2020 there have been nine cases against university professors seven of whom are ethnically chinese none of the case none of the cases zero the largest theft of intellectual properties and all are about not disclosing china ties the crime charts include false statements or false claims for non-disclosure why fraud or wire fraud while you use emails grant fraud when you have federal grants and a false tax return may argue that failure to discuss genotypes is wrong but that is not the question here for example sandra bland an african-american woman was stopped by a texas state trooper for not signaling a term was this something improper yes it was but nobody should have gone to jail and died for it the same can be said in the case of samuel dubose for a missing front license license plate and philando castile for a broken taillight they likely would not have died for these offenses had they not been african americans similarly the same the right question we should ask is whether it is okay to single out the entire group of chinese professors scientists and students for targeting as suspected non-traditional collectors or spies for china that is racial profiling and that is wrong the third lesson i learned from my experience is that the doj is criminalizing academic collaborations with china it was clear to me during my interrogation by the fbi agents that they knew nothing about how science is done and they saw routine academic activities as criminal according to the us attorney who is prosecuting charles lieber and the gang chain academic collaboration with china is by definition conveying sensitive information to the chinese you don't even have to be a chinese anyone who has academic collaboration with china chinese colleagues can become a target of the fbi once you are a target your email will be read your phone will be tapped and everything you have ever done in your life will be under the microscope and the china initiative makes sure that the fbi has enough resources to do it i was charged as a result of such an examination basically for doing what the government and the university encouraged me to do that is scientific collaborations with chinese colleagues having realized that openness in fundamental research and international collaborations were under serious threat and the scientific community needed to have a voice on such an important issue i went to the national academy of sciences engineering and medicine in may 2016 and gave a presentation to their committee on human rights i called upon the academies to conduct a study on the benefits and risk of international collaborations and they recommend guidelines for the government and the scientific community in conducting such collaborations i'm glad to say that we now have such a study in 2019 the national science foundation commissioned a study from the json group on fundamental research security and the group submitted is in its report in december 2019 json is an independent group of elite scientists which advises the us government on science and technology matters mostly of a sensitive nature all its members have security clearances and access to classified information the json group does not publicize who is a json which is how the members call themselves but we know they can speak on behalf of the scientific community to the u.s government the json report adequately addressed the threat to fundamental research by foreign influence and gave us a powerful weapon to debunk many falsehoods that has been propagated by some politicians and law enforcement officials and that is what i will focus on in the remainder of this talk false good number one chinese scientist academics and students are non-traditional collectors for china there are a slew of what we call non-traditional collectors businessmen scientists high-level academics graduate students et cetera people who are not intelligence officers by profession but who are for a variety of reasons working on behalf of the chinese government in other words they are chinese spies former secretary of state explained it in a very stark term we know two that not all chinese students and employees are just normal students and workers that are coming here to make a little bit of money and to garner themselves some knowledge too many of them come here to steal our intellectual property and to take this back to their country communist china is already within our borders chinese students employees are not normal students and workers communist china is already within our borders joseph mccarthy said the same in the 1950s communists hold u.s jobs during the mccarthy era many innocent americans lost jobs saw their career destroyed and some were imprisoned let's hear joseph mccarthy speak one communist on the faculty of one university is one communist humanity even if there are only one communists in the state department that should still be one communist too many one communist on the faculty of one universities one communist too many even if there is only one communist in the state department there will still be one communist too many these words resonate with what we are hearing today the question is are chinese professors scientists and students spies for china the json report answered unequivocally no it said that chinese scholars either chinese citizens or u.s citizens originally from china are typically not acting as representatives of the chinese government's party or the chinese government and are not necessarily in agreement with the aims methods or policies of these institutions they must be treated as fellow residents or citizens of our country and should be judged on their personal actions and not by profiling based on the actions of the government and the political institutions of china all of us should speak up on behalf of our chinese colleagues so they will not be subject to the new mccarthyism no matter what america's china policy is whether the two countries are in the cold war or hot war it is wrong for the law enforcement to profile chinese students scientists and professors based on where they come from falsehood number two chinese students steal american intellectual property back to china it's a scandal to me that we have trained so many of the chinese communist party's brightest minds to go back to china to compete for our jobs to take our business and ultimately to steal our property and design weapons and other devices that can be used against the american people so i think we need to take a very hard look at the visas that we give to chinese nationals to come to the united states to study especially at the postgraduate level in advanced scientific and technological fields you know if chinese students want to come here and study shakespeare and the federalist papers that's what they need to learn from america they don't need to learn quantum computing and artificial intelligence from america we hear it repeated by former secretary of state the chinese communist party knows it can never match our innovation as state-owned enterprises authoritarian regime it is a government-centric focus it's why it says 400 000 students a year to the united states of america to study 400 000 students a year studying in our universities come from one country it is no accident much of the high-end industrial base inside of china is based on stolen technology or technology purchased from other nations it's not homegrown chinese communist parties sends 400 000 students a year to the united states to steal technology for china nothing can be further from the truth of all the majority of the chinese students in the us are not funded by the chinese government second under the supervision of their advisors graduate students are the people who actually create discovery and innovations in america after the students from china got their phd degrees according to this study an overwhelming majority 90 percent stayed in the us contributing to american economic and national security many became american citizens the jason report said that foreign students are critical are critical to our domestic research enterprise and some universities graduate programs likely could not maintain their high level of excellence without them many chinese students stayed in the us adding to our expert workforce there are many ways to measure the contribution students from china make to america here i show members of national academies of sciences engineering and medicine who are students from china and now leaders in academia and business in the united states many of them are your alumni or employees here at harvard along with immigrants from all over the world students from china helped to make america stronger more prosperous and more secure falsehood number three academic collaborations allow china to leapfrog american research helping china to take advantage of the taxpayers funding the research are taken over china isn't just going toward academic purposes that wouldn't be right either because our taxpayer dollars are going in to fund this research they're then leapfrogging us by getting that research in other words academic collaborations with china are bad for america that is not true many u.s funding agencies run collaborative research programs with china in this 2012 report to the congress the department of state said that u.s china science and technology cooperation accelerated scientific progress in the united states providing significant direct benefit to a range of u.s technology

technical agencies and as i've established the prior program in 2005 jointly funding research project with funding agencies of many countries including china's ministry of science and technology because international engagement is critical to keeping the us globally competitive at the frontier of knowledge the former head of the nsf beijing office said u.s scientists can access world-class facilities unique geographic sites and expertise in a growing number of fields by collaborating with chinese colleagues she added that nsf nsf funding can be leveraged in coordinated partnerships with china in other words scientific collaborations with china enhances the impact of taxpayer money leading to more science and engineering breakthroughs nih ran a u.s china program for biomedical collaborative research since 2006 to stimulate collaborations with china in 2014 the nih director told an audience at fulton university in shanghai quoting luis pasteur that science knows no country because knowledge belongs to humanity falsehood number four us colleges and universities turn blind eyes to chinese espionage our nation's colleges and universities are so addicted to the tuition money and research grants that pour in from chinese students and destructive spy programs like thousand talents and confucius institutes that they turn two blind eyes to the espionage that regularly occurs on their campuses in this fbi documents published in 2019 fbi warned the fbi warned u.s universities that the chinese government targets chinese professors students and scientists on their campuses to entice them to steal secrets for china in the aps news bad pay back page commentary the aps leadership pointed out that that fbi documents does not provide cases of threats relating to unclassified basic research in academia the fact is that most of us professors do not do secretary sensitive research what we do is the so-called fundamental research because the principles of freedom to publish and disseminate is so essential to us universities that most of them do not accept funding that restrict its faculty from publishing and disseminating their results here at harvard the openness in research policy says harvard university is committed to preserving and protecting the freedom of research and maintaining a teaching and research environment that is open and that promotes the free exchange of research results it will not undertake classified research and will not accept publication restrictions and the foreign faculties students and scholars will not be singled out for restriction in us in access to harvard university's education and research facilities and activities the json report described the national security decision directive 189 issued by president reagan in 1985 which established a national policy for controlling the flow of science technology engineering information produced in federally funded research nsdd 189 established a clear distinction between fundamental research and classified research it has been reaffirmed by the bush administration and obama administration and still operative as our national policy today nsd 199 defined fundamental research as basic and applied research in science and engineering the result of which ordinarily are published and shared broadly within the scientific community is that it is the policy of this administration that to the maximum extent possible the products of fundamental research remain unrestricted if national security requires control then the research should be classified in terms of basic research and applied research there are clear definitions in federal policies and regulations for example basic research is systematic study directly towards greater knowledge or understanding of the fundamental aspects of phenomena and or observable facts without specific applications towards processes or products in mind for those who receive funding from the department of defense this is the so-called 6-1 research the nih director said it best about the fundamental research in this interview let me ask you a couple questions in the vaccine first of all um this hacking issue that apparently with the russians were behind um was nih targeted and do you guys did you guys lose any key information and certainly we are always under cyber attacks of various sorts but i would say most of what we do in science we publish it we put it out there people don't have to go hacking to find it we're all about transparency so i'm not exactly sure what serious risk is involved here mischief yes but serious risk i'm not so sure most of all we do in science we publish it you don't have to steal it the concept of stealing open fundamental research is totally nonsensical contradiction falsehood number five we need to control unclassified documents because they create classified documents listen to this defense lawyer talk about the thousand grains of sand theory or mosaic theory that is widely held by the intelligence community but there was much more we are saying called the mosaic theory which is they have five unclassified documents and if you put them together it creates a classified map russia wants to steal the one class right now the chinese would go out and try and obtain all this unclassified information and put the pieces together that's why a lot of academics in the non-security world or as contractors to the united states agencies especially in the national laboratories with the department of energy we're always under suspicion you have unclassified documents you put them together and it creates a classified document here the fbi says even if the technologies and their applications are not currently classified they could be in the future so you can be in trouble even when you talk about fundamental science with chinese scientists the only safe solution seems to be not to talk at all or a complete academic decoupling from china on november 19 2019 a senate subcommittee released a staff report on threat to the u.s research enterprise it recommended that the administration should consider updating nsddy9 and implement additional limited restrictions on u.s government-funded fundamental research federal agencies must assess whether openly sharing some types of fundamental research is in the nation's interest so open fundamental research is facing an existential threat i want to sign the statement on security and science by the national science board in october 2018 to emphasize the central importance of openness to fundamental research it said fundamental research is built on open exchanges of ideas and information these scientific values mirror american ideals of freedom a combination that has helped our country lead the world in technology driven our economy and that in turn protects our freedom it coded in std 189 the strength of american science requires a research environment conducive to creativity an environment in which the free exchange of ideas is a vital component you also quoted national security advisor condoleezza rice the key to maintaining u.s technological

preeminence is to encourage open and collective collaborative basic research the linkage between the free exchange of ideas and scientific innovation prosperity and u.s national security is undeniable the json report took a strong position on this issue besides nsdd-189 which makes clear that fundamental research should remain unrestricted is america's national policy and should be reaffirmed no new restrictions using intermediate level boundaries should be established falsehood number six non-disclosure of china ties has to be criminally prosecuted here the u.s attorney in boston addressed the libra case the core of the allegation against him is that he lied about this to federal authorities uh including investigators from nih and dod when they asked him about it and that and that is a crime and so um in light of that case a lot of questions we've gotten revolve around well is it illegal for academics in the united states to collaborate with their counterparts in foreign countries and the answer to that is no and again this has caused some confusion because while that is allowed lying about that activity of federal authorities when you're required not to is not allowed while failure to disclose china is wrong is criminal prosecution the right response to such actions the json report addressed the issue of failure to disclose conflict of interest and conflict of a commitment is said that what should be reported is not always clear and the requirements for disclosure must be clearly communicated to everyone involved in terms of failure to this clause the json report said that it should be investigated and adjudicated by funding agencies and universities with consequences similar to those currently in place for scientific misconduct such as demotion dismissal and department only willfully supply incorrect information as part of a disclosure should be treated as crime so unless we're willfully deceptive failure to disclose should not be prosecuted in particular when the rules of disclosure were different or not clear according to the doj's justice manual the grounds for declining prosecution include when there exists an adequate non-criminal alternative to prosecution the json report clearly concluded that there is a non-criminal alternative to the criminal persecution for non-disclosure of china ties which is investigation and adjudication by funding agencies and universities with consequences similar to those for scientific misconduct let's hear what professor maggie lewis says you look at statements also made by u.s

attorney lelling and massachusetts where he has said very openly yes the china initiative will have a chilling effect and that's a good thing so there seems to also be my my reading of that at least some people involved in the china initiative have said well we want to have essentially over deterrence that we think we need to um have this heavy hammer of the criminal law and um and and i think that goes against the ethos that is in the justice manual that the department of justice the the rules that they have long set for themselves the heavy hammer of criminal not law goes against the doj rules let's take a look at gung chen's case as detailed in the complaint chen had numerous appointments and contractual relationships with the government of the people's republic of china that were intended to advance the scientific and technological goals of that country he served as an expert and advisor on numerous chinese scientific boards and committees was a member of the chinese of chinese talent programs designed to bring foreign scientific expertise to china and participate in identifying and recruiting foreign talent for the benefit of the chinese government while this itself is not illegal he concealed these relationships and work for the prc government from the department of energy when applying for at least one federal grant he was charged for not disclosing relationships in china in his doe grant proposal well uh gangster's activities in china are hardly a secret for example one of the relationships highlighted in the indictment the centers for mechanical engineering research and education at mit and sastec was widely publicized in december 2020 the u.s government accountability office issued a report on the funding agency's disclosure policies it finds the government-wide guidance governing the grants process does not specifically mention or define non-financial conflicts nor does it mention disclosing foreign affiliations associations or activities in the absence of agency-wide coi policies and definitions on non-financial interest researchers may not fully understand what they need to report on their grant proposals yet we face criminal prosecutions if we made an honest mistake in missing the disclosure requirements somewhere and this is scary personally it makes me extremely nervous when applying for fundamental federal funding in particular when the doj uses funding to determine the damage caused by your crime the more federal funding you get the more serious your crime is falsehood number seven universities should secure their research like the industry does you look at people trying to take advantage of others technology development what becomes the weak link here it's academia because people come in and out of labs at universities they want professors and students to come from other countries and that's beneficial for everyone but they don't have the same type of safeguards in place that say a technology company would that's invested millions or billions of dollars in this research and has an infrastructure to secure that research academy is much more loose in how it secures these things and that emphasis on collaboration tends to leave them vulnerable people should understand that academia is not industry it's not government labs in this book published by aspen strategy group in 2019 former cia director john deutch wrote the risk of losing of technology to china is minor compared to the losses that will be incurred by restricting inquiry on university campuses why because america's innovation act results not only from funding and talents but also a competitive ecosystem in the same book writer and historian walter issacson wrote that the triangular partnership between government industry and academia created an ecosystem that helped produce the technological revolution after world war ii each partner has its unique functions and the universities are where free open basic research is conducted it precedes the proprietary and classified research at the industrial and government labs if you crack down the free and open environment in academia and turn university into industrial or government labs you will destroy the ecosystem that make america competitive in the first place and stifle american innovation the former los angeles national laboratory director said it perfectly you don't want to put all research behind high walls we have to create the secrets we create the secrets and to create the secrets you need a totally different atmosphere than from locking them up we had a system at los alamos what i call short fences and high fences keep as much of the laboratory with short fences and then the stuff that's really you know classified you put high fences around them but don't put a high fence around the whole place because eventually you won't need a fence because there'll be nothing left inside that others will want if you shot an open fundamental research pretty soon you will have no secret to be stolen i'm deeply concerned that under pressure our universities may accept the false narratives of summer officials as true i've been to all 56 fbi field offices and i will tell you i'm struck by the number of offices where universities that three or four years ago wouldn't have wanted an fbi agent anywhere near campus to some uh that now have office space set aside for our people it's recognition that the information that's being stolen is their information so it's about protecting their research their professors their hard work if the academic community does not speak up for openness it is a real danger that the day you can publish your fundamental research freely and discuss the result openly with colleagues be numbered our universities will become something we do not recognize i'm glad to see that university leaders and academics are speaking up in this case the mit president and faculty members publicly defend gang-chan against government acquisitions and we all need to do the same to be clear we are not denying there is foreign influence by china with all the classified law enforcement information available to them the json group did a detailed assessment of how china influences american research which includes reward deception coercion and theft they concluded that these actions occurred to some degree but how frequently they occur is not clear the picture of foreign influence of fundamental research is far from complete but the threat is there it can be addressed within the framework of research integrity not by walling off fundamental research the json report made nine recommendations expand research integrity to include full disclosures of actual or potential conflicts of interest and commitment and communicate the requirements clearly to all stakeholders included in essex education and training in particular for foreign researchers when the requirement to disclose is violated the funding agencies and universities should investigate and adjudicate it with consequences similar to scientific misconduct in my opinion the json report presented an added appropriate and a balanced solution to a serious problem and the scientific community should rally around it to summarize i hope my talk has succeeded in dispelling some frequently heard false narratives it is false to say that chinese scientists academic students are spies for the chinese government the majority of them do not act as representatives of china it is false to say that chinese students are sent by china to the u.s to steal secrets for china they create knowledge when they are students and the majority of them remain in the u.s it is false to say that u.s colleges and universities turn blind eyes to chinese espionage most universities do fundamental research which is open according to our national security national policy sdy 89. it is false to say that

academic collaborations help chain a leapfrog taxpayer-funded research the uh u.s government says that scientific collaborations with china provide significant benefits to america it is false to say that unclassified documents should be controlled because they can create classified documents open fundamental research is key to u.s technological preeminence it is contrary to doj rule to say that non-disclosure of china ties has to be criminally prosecuted json report recommended a non-criminal alternative which is to treat them as violations of research integrity with consequences similar to scientific misconduct it is false to say that universities should secure their research like industry universities are not industry and cracking down on openness in academia destroys american innovation ecosystem in the name of security securing taxpayer-funded research the policies that deprive u.s universities of chinese students persecute leading researchers who collaborate with chinese colleagues make it untenable for chinese scientists to have a life and a career in the u.s pursue complete academic decoupling with china and restrict open fundamental research on university campuses are in fact destroying american science and technology i urge everyone to rally around the json report which represents the voices of the scientific community adequately address the foreign influence of fundamental research and should be the basis for our national policy on scientific relationship with china there is an urgent need for all of us to speak up to define chinese colleagues against injustice to safeguard open fundamental research on university campuses and to protect america's research undergrads from irreparable damages if i can convince you to join this effort then the ordeal my family and i had gone through would not be in vain thank you for your intention thank you so much professor xi for such a moving talk and powerful message for all of us um we have muted everybody just to uh i thought we had muted everybody um okay so uh the intention was to mute everybody i'm sorry and to take questions in the chat uh so just so that we don't get overwhelmed here um so how about if people have questions for uh professor xi um please start typing in the chat and i will read them out loud as i see them i will also save the chat and so if we run out of time with too many questions he will have a record of the questions that were asked and we can try to figure out what to do to follow up on those so i'm looking in the chat right now for questions well while people are thinking about what to write in the chat i'm going to actually ask a question of my own um and that is you know i i'm just blown away by the power of your message um and also as an american myself um you know i like being an american i like living here and one of the things that i'm most proud of or have been most proud of of my country is that we have welcomed the best and the brightest immigrants from all over the world and i think that that's what makes us great and it really scares me in this environment that we would be pushing away what i see as the greatest strength of our country so what message would you have to prospective immigrants about you know your thoughts on immigrating to the u.s

is there anything that you can say that would still encourage people to come um well yes and i think the strength of america is the democracy and every one of us has the right to have our voice be heard and so um you know that's what i have i'm doing here and that's what everybody should do and when we see something which hurts our country we should speak up and to to you know have it changed and uh so that's you know the the fact that we have the right to do this is what this country is so great about and uh so yeah absolutely i think uh you know come to this country and then speak up to protect your own right and to try to correct policies that hurt our country thank you i see a question does life and research ever go back to normal after being hunted by the fbi um no no obviously no as i said i'm simply scared when i apply for funding because you know having experience what i have i know what they are capable of doing and so everything that i say you know every email i send uh not just me every member of my family they are always concerned that uh uh if something can be twisted uh for for the government to charge us uh you know a fact that uh everybody should understand that uh your email could be read in particular for you know chinese american scientists and uh people collaborate with china and so um you know anything in a proposal conflict of interest form uh progress report everyone if you're missing something it could be trouble for you and so before i submit anything i just look it over and over and over and think about whether i miss anything or anything that is not precise so it has affected me uh in a very significant way and my research program is much much smaller than it used to be before you know i was arrested thank you the next question is how can we be involved in supporting the json report talk to your congressman and senators and take every opportunities in you know the uh um community organizations or tell your friends you know that's the least you can do tell your friends about what you have just heard and tell them that there are these things which which is uh uh unfair and unjust and uh just spread the word and of course vote and uh to you know all these things to participate in the civil um activities that's the thing that we can all do um also you know um what the president of mit and the faculty of mit have done which is uh very important and you know it's it's important that people are speaking up uh to to to to protest something that they think is ingest thank you another person asks do you think the atmosphere will change under biden and how do you understand the relationship between the fbi and the white house i do not expect the policy will change in any such significant way in the new administration so this is not a protestant issue this is you know this is uh the the you know uh justice uh issue and uh so um i think the uh uh one important point is what i said during my talk uh the whatever the us policy towards china is right cold war or hot war or any uh more friendly more uh hostile whatever the policy is it's wrong to profile um scientists of chinese ethnic origin based on you know their ethnicity or where they come from thank you there's a general question here a lot of people would love to have a copy of the presentation or access to the video and i will say that the video will be posted on the harvard department website in the short term i think it has to be captioned first so it usually takes a few days but it will be accessible and the chat will be saved and we will find some way to post questions and answers if we can the next question for professor xi is the wall street journal has an article the justice department weighs amnesty for academics to disclose foreign funding do you have any thoughts on this well honestly implies that the person has done something wrong and i think that's the premise which is itself wrong and i think the jason report provided a perfect answer to this problem right so people should disclose uh all these genotypes and transparency is extremely important for science and scientists and so you know if you don't have everything on the table and transparent that's not right but json report concluded that should be dealt with in the framework of research integrity and of course in a very serious uh cases when people purposely uh hide something uh that is uh that of course could be criminal but uh mostly if you are just making some mistake or not clear and uh you know like a geo gao report said you know this this agency policies did not specify what need to be uh disclosed in terms of a non-financial uh you know conflict of interest so if you don't have clear clearly spelled out requirement you cannot prosecute people for that for not following that thank you another question um again persuaded by this very powerful talk but saying that it's not uncommon among highly educated people to equate collaborating with china to stealing or engaging in shady things so there's a high degree of suspicion what's the best way to educate the highly educated people who aren't seeing this message yet now i personally would say this was a very powerful talk and this link will be available so send them this link but professor xi do you have some sound bites um that we can focus on um well i think it's uh well any particular part of my talk i think each each each member of audience can make their own decision but i think it's just important to educate the public uh because uh you know all these falsehoods that i mentioned has been repeated so many times that people believe it and it's up to us the people in the scientific community to repeat as frequently or more so that people understand what this policy doing is is exactly hurting american science and technology i think that message uh need to be repeated and uh so that's what uh you know in my opinion uh should be done and that's why you know i i talk about this uh in any opportunity i have because you know each time i may reach a small number of people but this is something that i have to keep doing so that more people are aware of this well you reached at least 467 people today and i hope more in the recording afterwards so thank you um i see a question from an asian american researcher who wonders whether the risk to asian americans who were born raised in the u.s is just as great as those who immigrated like yourself uh yes there is a risk and um you know in my situation i in my case uh i realized very much that uh whether you are from mainland china or from taiwan or your your second third generation uh chinese americans uh you know people can't tell people cannot tell and they just see us as chinese and of you know going further anybody who collaborate with people in china are being uh you know targeted like like uh like case of charles lieber and uh so i don't think you can be safe from these kind of things uh if you know you are born in this country as a as a second or third generation chinese american thanks there's a lot of uh passion in the audience people want to know what can we do to help i mean what can we do right now uh i and personally i've seen several gofundmes up but i don't know are there people we can write letters to at this moment what what is the number one thing we can do right now to help our colleague scientists who are in trouble whatever social circle you are in tell your friends about this and just let more and more people know of this injustice and uh and that i think that's that's uh basically uh what everybody can do and that is actually very important you know in democracy more votes is precious to politicians and so if they understand a lot of people a lot of their constituencies are angry about this problem and want something changed about it and they will do something about it another question from a student who is a of chinese ethnicity but born in america um wonders that there's there's some prejudices even within the chinese-american the non-immigrant chinese-american community against china and chinese thinking that kovit came from there do you have any suggestions for engaging with prejudice within the chinese-american community in the u.s i think one important thing for for people you know for for students who just came out from china is to understand that uh every country has its issues and china has its issues uh the united states has its issues there's no place which is kind of uh heaven everything is perfect and so on and so forth and so it's our civil responsibility um to participate in in the in the affairs of whatever country you're in and uh so um they should if they think oh the united states is so good so perfect that's not true this is this country you know from the very very beginning is aiming to make it a more perfect union meaning that the union is not perfect at any time and you are working hard to make it more perfect so um if you are scared you have a good reason to be scared and you're not citizen so it's somewhat um what you can contribute is somewhat more restricted than the citizen but you can still talk to your friends talk to people you know and to spread the word and that is very important here's a question about a specific research memo that president donald trump issued shortly before leaving office called nspm 33.

do you know anything about that uh no i i don't know exactly what what it is about okay we'll put that on the list of things to follow up on so a student who's concerned about whether it's safe to call or text parents in china i i think it's a good assumption for everybody any everybody to to assume is that whatever you are doing is open for people to see so you know don't say bad things be behind people's back they will know and don't do bad things because it will be discovered and you know whether it's safe you know don't do bad things first of all but if you're doing things that could be misunderstood um it's it's tough there's a good reason to be concerned i guess it goes with the generic advice of when you're writing an anonymous peer review imagine that they'll figure out who you are eventually um a question about uh what legal help do you think the universities should provide to foreign researchers who have these concerns um i think people should understand that university interest um does not always align with individuals and uh so you should uh just be uh take care of yourself and uh you know of course there are all these policies that if you are teaching and you did something the university should represent you and uh but in this kind of uh criminal charges i think most of the university would would would try to defend itself of course you know there's a one thing that is always true that people who are charged by the government are under very difficult situations because nobody know all the facts right we don't know what happened in terms of uh gun chain we don't know what exactly happened to charles river and we just don't know you have the word from the government and of course i i use the example of franklin tao at least we can know what he said so if you really want to know uh go to pacer.gov and you'll you can see all the court documents but uh but you know people will say well you know the government charged this guy of certain things so he must have done something bad so that's very very difficult situation and of course you know if you are a university official it's same thing for them too they don't know whether you have done something bad so it is a difficult situation but of course we would always say regardless of whether a person has done some bad things we need to make sure that the justice is done right right so a person should be punished for what these bad things this person has done um inappropriate in proportional to the crime yes that so at least that part uh we should all you know hold that belief that whether this person has done anything wrong we want to make sure that the justice is done uh you've been talking for a while and i appreciate your energy i also know that you kindly volunteered to have a session for students after this so i don't want to shortchange the students but i think i'll take two more questions and then we'll close down this meeting and i hope that most of the students here have been on email lists where they have the link for the zoom meeting um that's going to be a student safe space with professor xi afterwards so there's a couple of questions here about who is key in supporting you are there particular civil liberties groups or civil rights groups or contacts of individuals that people could get in touch with to volunteer to help out with this cause yes there are um there there are there are i i can provide some information to you afterwards uh and also on my slides i think uh i mentioned that some um asian-american uh civil liberty organization filed an amicus brief on behalf of franklin powell and and the name of that organization is there and i think if you google that name you should be able to find the names of these organizations and but i will provide some information to you afterwards um and one last question that i find very interesting i think many of us who read the fbi and the doj report on professor gang chen may have been appalled by what seemed like just an ignorance of how academic science works and wondering if there has been any effort on the part of the the doj or the fbi or the powers that be to actually educate themselves by talking to leaders in academia and understand how academic research works uh my impression right as far as i know uh the the the the communication is mostly one way that is the fbi try to educate the universities and i i don't think i have seen much that the university is trying to educate the law enforcement so the answer is no i don't i i have not seen things like that okay i want to be respectful of our students because i think that they deserve a space safe space to ask questions so i want to thank you again so much for your energy um and your generosity and your bravery and coming to give this talk to so many people about such an important issue so maybe we can give a virtual round of applause and the reactions and then i'm going to end this meeting it the recording will be posted we will post the chat in some form we'll try to anonymize it so that people feel safe and uh and hope that the students can go on to the student zoom link to talk to professor xi directly thank you again so i want to thank you for the opportunity it was really our honor to have you here thank you

2021-02-08 09:42

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