In DepthForeign Influence

Concerns about ties to China prompt firings

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Science  26 Apr 2019:
Vol. 364, Issue 6438, pp. 314-315
DOI: 10.1126/science.364.6438.314

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The MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, has moved to oust three senior researchers after the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) informed it that the scientists had committed potentially "serious" violations of agency rules. MD Anderson's actions are the first publicly known dismissals of researchers in response to a sweeping effort by NIH to address U.S. government fears that foreign nations, particularly China, are taking inappropriate advantage of federally funded biomedical research. Science has confirmed that three of the departed researchers are ethnically Chinese. Among cancer center faculty and activists, the events are fueling concerns that government agencies and MD Anderson are unfairly targeting scientists of Chinese descent.

  • * This story was produced in collaboration with the Houston Chronicle, with reporting by the Chronicle's Todd Ackerman, as well as Science's Jeffrey Mervis and Jocelyn Kaiser. This story was supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting.