China condemns NASA over conference ban

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 23:03

Zee Media Bureau

Beijing: The US space agency NASA’s decision to ban Chinese scientists from attending a conference in the United States next month has been condemned by China.

The Second Kepler Science Conference on exoplanets is scheduled to take place in NASA’s Ames Research Centre in California from November 4 to 8.

NASA has announced to bar Chinese nationals in the meeting citing national security as its reason. Following which, several prominent scientists in exoplanet research have decided to boycott the conference.

In Beijing, Hua Chunying, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman termed the decision “discriminatory”.

The ban is based on a law passed in March 2011 and signed by President Barack Obama that prohibits government funds from being used to host Chinese nationals at NASA facilities.

The law is part of a broad and aggressive move initiated by congressman Frank Wolf, chair of the House appropriations committee, which has jurisdiction over NASA.

However, Rep Wolf himself called Nasa’s move “inaccurate”.

He said the purpose of the law was to prevent NASA from co-operating with the Chinese government and Chinese-owned companies, not individuals.

First Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 - 23:03
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