原标题:饶毅致信美国科技官员:科学家应该有脊梁

海归学者发起的公益学术平台

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(原标题:饶毅致信美国科技官员:科学家应该有脊梁)

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Xin Jin

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交流学术,偶尔风月

By Kevin Holden Dec. 16, 2016 , 9:00 AM

撰文 | 饶 毅

不久前,Science杂志在线发表一篇题为“NIH letters asking about undisclosed
foreign ties rattle US
universities”的新闻评述,报道美国国立卫生研究院给数十家主要的研究型大学发函,要求他们提供一批接受NIH资助却又与外国政府保持未公开联系的研究人员的信息。

When China’s leaders decided a generation ago to experiment with opening
the People’s Republic to global market forces, they created an
archipelago of special economic zones (SEZs) along the nation’s southern
coast. South China’s resulting transformation into an export powerhouse
has helped make the country a world trade titan. Now the region is part
of a new round of reforms aimed at reshaping China into a globally
connected pioneer in the sciences. China’s universities, along with the
National Natural Science Foundation and the Chinese Academy of Sciences
(CAS), have created award schemes aimed at attracting scientists trained
in the United States or Europe to take positions across southern China
and to help spur the next stage of the region’s metamorphosis. These
strategies are helping power research breakthroughs in the spheres of
space science, physics, genomics, and medicine.

美国华盛顿特区

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From rice paddies to space stations

国立健康研究 院(NIH)院长

图片来自视觉中国

The drive to transmute the country’s burgeoning economic might into
scientific prowess is evident across southern China. Shenzhen,
crisscrossed by rice paddies when it was designated an SEZ, is now one
of the world’s fastest growing cities and hosts one of China’s leading
genomics outfits. Similarly, the tropical island of Hainan, ringed by
fishing villages when it too became an SEZ, opened its new space launch
center this summer. Thousands of visitors watched the premier liftoff of
the new Long March 7 rocket, along with the prototype of a
next-generation human space capsule that it carried into orbit. CAS
leaders say spaceflight is a high-priority sector for heightened
international cooperation. China recently signed an agreement with the
United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, outlining Beijing’s
pledge “to enable United Nations member states, particularly developing
countries, to conduct space experiments onboard China’s space station,
as well as to provide flight opportunities for astronauts and payload
engineers.” CAS is stepping up its twin drives to boost collaboration on
transborder science projects and to increase its standing in worldwide
science. One area in which it has made headway is in studies
encompassing the formation of the universe, the earliest galaxies, and
the solar system. Planetary scientist Yuan Li, a postdoctoral researcher
at Rice University in Houston, says he was persuaded to accept a
position at the CAS Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry through a Global
Youth Experts award. Li is the lead author of a recent Nature Geoscience
study, cowritten with colleagues at Rice, which posited that the
life-enabling carbon in the Earth’s crust might be the result of a
collision between the proto-Earth and a Mercury-like planet about 4.4
billion years ago. That collision was distinct from the interplanetary
smashup that scientists believe gave birth to the Moon during the early
formation of the solar system. “During the accretion of our Earth, there
were probably numerous collisions between the proto-Earth and small
planetary embryos,” says Li. This early period in the solar system’s
evolution, he adds, might have resembled a massive billiards game
involving the inner protoplanets crashing into each other before
entering stabilized orbits around the sun. Li’s paper is part of a
steady rise of articles written by Chinese scholars and published in the
world’s leading academic journals. He says China’s expanding
constellation of incentives for scientists is a powerful attraction for
scholars trained in the West. “In the past five years, thousands of
young scientists like me have returned to China,” he says.

Francis Collins医学博士、哲学博士

去年,NIH发表了关于保护美国生物医学研究诚信的声明,随后又协助美国联邦调查局调查与国外机构有合作、接受经费资助的美国科学家。随着中美关系的紧张,许多在美的中国学者相继被调查,美国学界华裔学者的身份问题,成为一个敏感问题。

Particle physics breakthroughs

亲爱的柯林斯博士:

2019年3月22日,美洲华人生物科学学会、美国华裔血液和肿瘤专家协会和华人生物学家学会集体发声,在《Science》以“Racial
profiling harms
science”为题发表公开信,表达了他们对目前的政策和舆论环境的担忧。而NIH则在同期做出回应。

China is interested not only in the macroworld, it is also keen on the
microworld. Scientists with an advanced degree in physics who have
accepted positions at south China universities are helping track and
explain how neutrinos morph into different types, or generations, as
they fly through space at nearly the speed of light. These physicists
have joined an international team of scientists who are studying nuclear
reactor–produced neutrinos in the southern Chinese seaside resort of
Daya Bay. Collaboration on these experiments involves universities and
physicists stretching across four continents, says Kam-Biu Luk, a
professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, and a
distinguished visiting scholar at the University of Hong Kong. Luk, who
heads the international participation in the project, says this
exploration of the long-shrouded world of neutrinos is one of the most
outstanding experiments in particle physics ever conducted by joint
groups of universities based in China and the United States. Physicists
at the University of Hong Kong, the Chinese University of Hong Kong,
Shenzhen University, Dongguan University of Technology, and Sun Yat-sen
University have joined counterparts at Yale, Princeton, and other
laboratories in this expanding experiment. Chinese scientists involved
in these neutrino observations, along with the international team headed
by Luk, were awarded the prestigious Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental
Physics in 2016, for outlining how neutrinos transform as they speed
through the cosmos. They won, according to the prize citation, for
“revealing a new frontier beyond, and possibly far beyond, the standard
model of particle physics.” Due to the rapidly growing neutrino physics
programs in China, Jiajie Ling, a postdoctoral researcher at the
University of Illinois who is now a professor in physics at Sun Yat-sen
University, opted to take a position there with start-up funding support
from the Thousand Talents Program for Distinguished Young Scholars. He
is helping to guide a new series of experiments at Daya Bay: the search
for the hypothesized “sterile neutrino.” This proposed fourth type of
neutrino could be a form of the elusive dark matter that scientists have
been searching for since the last century, says Ling.

你备受尊重,因为你是研究人类疾病基因变化出类拔萃的科学家,也是令人尊重的、宗旨为“探求生命系统本质和行为根本知识、用于增强健康、延长生命、减少疾患”的国立健康研究院(NIH)的院长。

公开信称,依照美国的法律保护其国家利益,惩罚商业间谍或是其他任何有违法行为的人都是应该的。这些年,监管逐渐严格,对于保护知识产权,保障国家利益都有好处。但是政策的施行应当针对非法分子,而不是挑出某个族群对其贴上种族标签,进行盲目调查打压。绝大多数华裔的学者、学生等遵纪守法,但目前这样对人不对事的政治环境可能会给高度敬业的华裔学者群体带来困扰,恐惧和失望。

Future home of particle colliders

人们欢呼NIH为改善美国人民和全人类的健康所作出的贡献。其传统和标准继承了全人类的文明,而希腊、印度、中国的古代文化都曾对人类文明有所贡献。

从科学进步的角度而言,在不威胁国家安全损坏国家利益的情况下,开放数据,打开合作之门,是推动科学快速进步的举措。美国目前的政策无异于闭门造车,将会阻碍科学发展。从个人的角度而言,一些华裔科学家被错误地指控间谍之后,其个人职业生涯面临毁灭性打击,尽管这些指控最终都被证明子虚乌有、全部被撤销。这样的事件,令整个华裔科学群体不寒而栗。

According to Ling, the massive neutrino study he is working on is
helping China move closer to realizing its plans to host an
international coalition of elite physicists around its proposed
supercollider projects. China’s top-echelon physicists, in tandem with
leading scientists worldwide, are designing a ringed particle smasher
measuring up to 100 kilometers in circumference that would initially be
configured as an electron–positron collider, and would later also host a
proton–proton accelerator. “After so many years of preparation and
joining world-wide experiments, now is a fantastic time for China to
host the Circular Electron–Positron Collider and the Super Proton–Proton
Collider,” Ling says. “More importantly, it is also China’s
responsibility to contribute to advancing high-energy physics and
humanity’s knowledge about the universe.” Jie Gao, one of the leaders of
the twin circular collider projects at the CAS Institute of High Energy
Physics, says southern Guangdong Province is a leading contender to host
the ringed accelerators. Chinese and American scientists who are laying
the groundwork for what would be the largest and most sophisticated
particle physics lab in history predict it could attract thousands of
the world’s experimental physicists to take up positions in China’s
planned “collider city.” Alain Blondel, one of the primary shapers of
the Future Circular Collider being mapped out by CERN (the European
Organization for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, says “it would be
fantastic” if the leaders of CERN and of the Chinese supercollider
program wind up competing to attract the globe’s foremost physicists.
Tao Liu, a physicist at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology,
echoes this sentiment. He says China’s planned collider project is the
most exciting ever to capture the attention of leading physics
professors and science students across Hong Kong. The supercolliders,
Liu adds, will “boost development in science and society in the coming
decades, [and] will inspire young talents of this and future
generations to devote themselves to the exploration of basic science.”

智力传承在国家之间交换了很长时间。西方从中国学习了造纸术、指南针、火药和活字印刷,美国从欧洲学习了很多。

最后,公开信中表达了对未来的期冀,希望美国联邦及地方政府,能够抛开种族偏见,避免矫枉过正,创造一个开放,尊重,透明,高效的科研环境,打开合作的大门,从而保持美国的科技进步与创新。

Mining the genome

科学家不能屈服于政治人物

有趣的是,NIH院长Francis
Collins等人在当期《Science》做出回应,称华裔科学家在过去几十年为美国的科技发展做出了卓越的贡献,中美的科研合作也极大推动了科技的发展。但最近有外裔学者,的确侵犯了美国的国家利益。为了解决这个问题,NIH工作组认真考虑了如何确保研究经费正当使用,并更公平地保护知识产权,同时尽量避免危害国际合作以及其它裔籍的美国居民权益。NIH特别强调,目前的调查是面向所有外裔科学家的,并非只针对华裔学者。

Just across the border from Hong Kong, universities and the local
government in Shenzhen are channeling their expanding funds into making
globally recognized advances in life science research and applications.
“Shenzhen has repositioned itself as one of the world’s leading centers
for genetics research,” says Bicheng Yang, communications director at
the genomics outfit BGI, which is moving forward with plans to create a
specialized life science college in partnership with the South China
University of Technology (SCUT) and the University of Copenhagen. Four
years ago, BGI signed a cooperation pact with the Gates Foundation to
set up joint training programs with the University of the Chinese
Academy of Sciences and SCUT. “The aim is to integrate the new college
more and more into scientific research that stretches across the
continents,” she explains. Xin Jin, a genomics expert with dual research
positions at BGI and at the SCUT, says, “One of the most exciting
projects we are working on is the Chinese Million-ome Project, aimed at
decoding one million Chinese genomes across the entire country.” The
university and BGI are also exploring the use of genomics to map the
genetic evolution of current populations dating back to the early modern
humans who trekked to Asia more than 40,000 years ago, and their
admixture with more archaic species, adds Jin, who coauthored a study on
this topic published in Nature.

你8月20日所谓美国生物医学研究面临威胁的信令人震惊,因为这是和平时期第一次政府官员限制科学交流。

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At the frontier of human genome editing

而如《科学美国人》以下报道的内容更骇人听闻:“柯林斯致信约一万个接受NIH资助的机构,鼓励它们与联邦调查局(FBI)地区办公室开会,讨论对于知识产权的威胁和外国干涉”。整个人类历史上,从来没有一个科学家邀请过类似FBI的机构监测“外国干涉”。有些政府这样做过,但不是因为领袖科学家或担任领导职务的科学家发起。即使在苏联最黑暗的时期,领袖科学家也有脊梁做相反的:物理学家卡皮查营救了他的学生朗道,后者在斯大林权力(和恐怖)顶峰时期被调查反斯大林行为。

图片来自:ROBERT NEUBECKER

The potential use of genomic engineering to eradicate the genetic bases
for diseases is also being explored by groups of university researchers
in the southern mega-city of Guangzhou. One of these groups recently
reported conducting a leading-edge experiment, but with only limited
success, in editing the genomes of human embryos to confer genetic
resistance to HIV infections. A similar paper published in 2015 by
researchers at Sun Yat-sen University ignited a global debate over
whether this type of research should be conducted on human embryos
because of its potential to trigger genetic changes that ripple across
future generations. Since then, leaders of the national science
academies in the United States, the United Kingdom, and China have met
and reached a consensus that while this type of research could continue,
any applications should be prohibited. The lead organizer of the summit
involving the three science academies was David Baltimore, president
emeritus of the California Institute of Technology. He adds that Chinese
researchers can move forward with embryonic genome editing studies as
long as “experiments are limited to 14 days of in vitro growth and no
implantation is attempted.” The genomics teams at Sun Yat-sen University
and at Guangzhou Medical University, says Baltimore, represent “an
effort of two labs to move into the forefront of the research.” Some
scholars suggest that China’s support for these studies, in view of the
U.S. Congressional ban on federal funding for research involving
modifying the genomes of human embryos, could help scientists across
Chinese universities move ahead in this realm of gene editing.

因此,你的信和你鼓励FBI调查的行动,大大偏离了科学实践的常轨。

记得五年前,NIH院长Collins在中国发表演讲称“科学不分国界,知识属于全人类”,如今听来,仿佛隔世。美国的高压政策,有人认为或许是中国的机会,大批顶级华裔科学家可能因此回到中国。也有人认为这是科学的灾难,令广大学者人人自危。不知道各位读者又如何看待呢?

Reversing “brain drain”

几年前,你在上海公开称:科学没有国界,因为它属于人类。

英文原文如下:

In another region of south China, at the Guangdong University of Foreign
Studies, Jing Yang has been conducting research with colleagues at
Pennsylvania State University on structural changes in the brain that
occur when students begin studying a second language. Yang, formerly a
postdoctoral fellow at Penn State, says she joined Guangdong University
of Foreign Studies because the school “is well known for cultivating
international talent.” She says she aims to help transform the
university’s language center into “a leading research center for
linguistics and applied linguistics,” and adds that the government is
providing large-scale grant support to reach that goal. China’s economic
ascent and the increasingly attractive recruitment packages offered by
its universities are becoming extremely appealing to Chinese scholars
who have studied in the West, Yang says, and are beginning to help
reverse a decades-long brain drain, during which scholars left the
country to pursue their careers elsewhere. While many Chinese scientists
still opt to stay in Europe or the United States after obtaining an
advanced degree there, Yang observes that “some scholars, like me, chose
to go home to work for a brighter future for ourselves and also for our
country.” These scholars, she adds, are helping create clusters of
excellent scientific research across China. “The rise of China
definitely is not limited to the economy,” Yang explains. “We hope our
country can excel in science, culture, and technology too. It is a
double win for China and the world.”

这句话被广泛翻译,人们交口称赞。

Racial profiling harms science

真理就是真理。不能因为政治领导人或律师说的不同,科学家就扭曲真理。

On behalf of the Society of Chinese Bioscientists in America , the
Chinese American Hematologist and Oncologist Network , and the Chinese
Biological Investigators Society , we write to express our concerns
about the recent political rhetoric and policies that single out
students and scholars of Chinese descent working in the United States as
threats to U.S. national interests e.g., and pp. 6–7 in ]. These
developments have led to confusion, fear, and frustration among these
highly dedicated professionals, who are in danger of being singled out
for scape-goating, stereotyping, and racial profiling. U.S. policies
must avoid targeting, as Representative Judy Chu (D–California) put it,
“an entire ethnic group of people for suspicion that they’re spies for
China” .

科学的永恒和科学家的道德勇气

Existing U.S. laws are in place to safeguard America’s interests and to
punish perpetrators for stealing trade secrets or engaging in illegal
activities. We absolutely support the well-established policies
regarding intellectual property, employment, and governance of conflicts
of interest. Such policies have been further enhanced in recent years
with more detailed and specific requirements from various federal and
state agencies, including the National Institutes of Health . The vast
majority of scientists and students of Chinese descent are law-abiding
citizens, residents, or visitors who have followed these rules.

科学是永恒的;而政治,特别是今天美国正在实践的那种,是短暂的。历史证明,劣质政治会灭亡,正如苏联和纳粹德国所证明的。

Open data access and data sharing are important for accelerating
research advancement and can be implemented without putting U.S.
security at risk. NIH has espoused such policies for years . Most
Chinese-American scientists believe that biomedical research benefits
all mankind and that multinational collaborations accelerate scientific
progress and discovery. However, some NIH recommendations could target
collaborations if implemented with bias. For example, NIH recommends
fostering “trusted relationships” p. 12 in ] with foreign partners but
does not specify whether the trust must be established through official
channels. NIH also suggests more disclosure requirements for foreign
collaborators than domestic colleagues (pp. 12–13 in which could hinder
collaborations.

我同情大多数美国科学家,你们虽然被教育——也常常自认为——道德正直,其实通常不熟悉历史,不懂如何处理如纳粹德国或苏联那种邪恶政治压力。

In recent decades, there have been several high-profile cases in which
Chinese-American scientists were wrongfully accused of spying e.g., ].
Although all charges were eventually dropped and/or the individuals
legally exonerated, the lawsuits have had not only devastating effects
on the careers of these individuals but also a chilling and negative
impact on the Chinese-American scientific community at large. It has
also become increasingly difficult for Chinese students and scholars to
obtain visas to enter the United States for scientific meetings, visits,
and research opportunities .

附件推荐一篇文章(“The Singular Moral Compass of Otto
Krayer”),记叙一位德国药理学家,在其事业早期,他拒绝接任因纳粹开除犹太科学家而空出的系主任职位。他可以接受这一职位,不因社会之恶而怪罪自己,但他在完全预见对自己事业的损害情况下,写信拒绝就职。此后他被纳粹禁止任学术职位、连图书馆都不能用。他被迫离开德国不是因为他是犹太人,而是因为他敢于申张正义、声讨罪恶。

It is our sincere hope that these actions, which we believe amount to
racial profiling, will stop immediately and that increased security
measures will not be used to tarnish law-abiding scientists and limit
normal and productive scientific exchanges. We thus urge both federal
and local governments to work with our academic and research
institutions to create a respectful, transparent, and productive
environment for everyone, regardless of their ethnic origin. We also
hope that scientific collaborations and exchanges between the United
States and foreign academic communities will be strengthened rather than
suppressed. American scientific advances and technological innovations
are the result of global efforts, and their future depends on the
continuation of time-tested traditions of openness and cooperation on
the global stage.

最终受纳粹和斯大林主义损害最大的是德国和俄国。希特勒上台之前,德国在数学、物理、化学和你自己研究的遗传学专业都遥遥领先,之后德国科学再也没达到那时的水平。

Response

历史可以重复,如果我们不从过去汲取教训,即使是其他国家的教训。

The National Institutes of Health appreciates the concerns expressed in
the thoughtful letter from Lu et al. on behalf of the Society of Chinese
Bioscientists in America, the Chinese American Hematologist and
Oncologist Network, and the Chinese Biological Investigators Society.
NIH greatly values scientists of Chinese descent as members of the
American biomedical research enterprise. For decades, scientists of
Chinese descent have contributed substantially to scientific innovations
at research institutions across the United States. Collaborations with
Chinese institutions have been critical to moving science forward. The
vast majority of Chinese scientists working in America are honorable,
conscientious, and dedicated to the cause of expanding knowledge for the
betterment of humankind.

如今特朗普主义盛行的美国,对美国人,包括美国科学家,都是考验的时刻。

Unfortunately, instances have recently come to light where certain
scientists, including some with links to foreign institutions and/or
governments, have violated the honor-based systems and practices of the
American research enterprise . Convened to address the issue, The NIH
Advisory Committee to the Director working group carefully considered
how to ensure fairness of the grant process and intellectual property
principles, while seeking to minimize jeopardy to innocent foreign
nationals and important international collaborations. The working group
recommendations apply to all foreign scientists, not just those of
Chinese descent.

目前,特朗普主义对科学的主要威胁不过是减少预算,与事业被毁、生命被灭还不能相比。但如此下滑,我们怎么知道,在很多学生是外国人、一批教授也是外国人的情况下,有什么可以阻挡竞争的实验室之间不去互相举报“外国影响“?以后的科学讨论,需要分成“美国”和“外国”吗?科学学会的年度会议,应该拒绝“外国影响”吗?NIH资助的美国国内和国际会议,应该请FBI来监控吗?

We are determined to maintain the integrity of the NIH research
enterprise, but we are also deeply concerned about the issues raised by
these three societies. NIH is committed to avoiding overreaction,
stigmatization, harassment, and profiling. We will use our influence and
bully pulpit as necessary to speak out against such prejudicial actions,
for which there is no place in the biomedical research community.

现在是美国科学家显示自己脊梁的时刻。

科学家及其选择支持的自由

所有科学家都有选择其工作地点的自由,有选择他们认为合适的合作对象的自由。

科学研究可以被任何合法资助机构所支持。政府机构是全世界资助科学的主要来源,这是大家接受的现实。每个科学家接受多个来源的资助也从来不是问题,即使资助来源于多个国家。

就在2015年,你自己领导的NIH与中国的国家自然科学基金会(NSFC)宣布共同资助美中生物医学合作项目(https://grants.nih.gov/grants/gui-de/rfa-files/RFA-AI-16-006.html)。因此你8月20日声明中所谓“NIH知道有国外实体发起了系统的计划影响NIH研究人员和同行评审”是彻头彻尾的谎言,除非你暗示NIH是阴谋的发起者和积极的伴侣。这明显是指中国,俄国连自己的科学都难以支持,欧洲和日本没有发起新计划。中国发起了招募科学家的计划,无论国籍,但因为语言和文化的原因,多半还是华人。中国没有试图影响NIH研究人员或同行评议。NIH歪曲事实到了无耻的地步。每个国家都有招募的权利。世界应该欢迎越来越多的国家投资科学、支持科学家,因为科学服务于全世界。

因为政府科学基金机构都不享有研究经费支持的研究所带来的专利或其他智力产权,保护专利、合作时合理分配专利完全不在NIH的管辖范围。事实上,30年来,NIH都资助了在中国国内的研究。这些中国研究人员自然都有中国机构的经费。难道你要说这些研究人员代表外国影响?而且他们所有的知识产权属于其单位,中国和美国的政府基金都不能拥有其知识产权,所以由NIH争知识产权是虚伪的。绝大多数研究并不能产生很有价值的知识产权。如果少数研究人员没有填报多重来源,不过是个人瑕疵,你8月20日声明称这种问题为“外国干涉”完全是小题大做。

虽然在美国诞生前,中国在经济上领先世界,但在美国存在的这些年中国的经济相对贫穷,长期难以负担科学经费。现在中国资助科学,既为中国发展,也为世界做贡献。中国资助纯数学和天文学,它们短期不会给任何国家带来经济利益,也许永远不能。NIH自己宣称的目标也不是产生经济回报,这是一个不能因为情人眼里出西施就可以改变的事实。所以,生物医学研究一般不应该带来不同国家、不同政府之间的矛盾。

你的道德传承

你的母校弗吉尼亚大学的创始者汤玛斯·杰弗逊,既是智力巨人,也是自由的旗手。如果他今天活着,他会为你的声明或行动鼓掌吗

你在耶鲁大学的研究导师,来自一个有伟大才华的文化,但在西方碰到自己制造的问题的时候常把他们作为替罪羊。犹太人经常被迫害,时而公开而残酷,时如蒙有面纱但也无情。你8月20日的声明无疑针对华裔科学家,似乎要在美国反智非理性的浪潮中用华人代替犹太人做新的替罪羊。

无论是合作还是竞争,徐立之博士于1980年代在发现囊性纤维化罹患基因的过程中,起了重要作用,你也为此共享成果。1980年代,中国还穷,无法提供经济支持。如果这在今天发生,有可能徐博士也会得到中国的支持。你会电话要FBI调查他吗?

如果多个经费机构决定都投入资源支持值得支持的研究,应该欢迎,而不是调查。

简单的建议

已故的麦肯恩参议员曾说:“我希望认为在最艰难的时刻,我做了对的事情,不过你无法知道,除非你被考验”。

今天可能是迄今以来对大多数美国科学家最艰难考验的时刻,特别是对那些在领导职位的人来说。但愿不会变得更艰难。

任何愿意出任你8月20日提出的顾问委员会之成员的科学家,都将染上道德污点。这一委员会应该被解散。你的信应该撤回。

美国科学家会“做对的事情”吗?至少不心甘情愿、主动做错的事情?历史将记录美国科学家能否经受人格和荣誉的真正考验。

希望有更多国际合作

生物医学是进行国际交流与合作最容易的领域,因为它与军事无关,而又对全人类有普适价值。

中国在积极酝酿开始中国脑计划、美国NIH已经有脑计划。中国感兴趣支持脑研究的国际合作,部分原因是促进有利于世界各国人民的研究,部分原因是现在中国不如以前那么穷之后,努力为人类共同目标付出中国的一分。

在这种转折点,NIH应该抛弃与FBI的合作、或自降体面地散布“国外干涉”的吓人谣言,改弦更张,拥抱所有支持生物医学的国家。

中国有长期欣赏智力贡献的传统,但我们的科学没有做到我们应该做的程度。为了成为世界有责任的成员,中国现在提高对科学的支持。应该欢迎所有支持科学的国家。如果有竞争,应该如奥林匹克运动一样。

生物医学研究的成果为全人类所共享;科学是有助于不同国家人民之间相互理解的主要桥梁之一。

诚挚的,

饶毅, 哲学博士

北京大学-IDG/麦戈文脑研究所教授、所长

北京大学理学部主任

北京脑中心主任

注1:Truth is truth,源自2018年8月美国总统的律师Rudy
Giuliani在接受电视访谈时称“truth isn’t truth”, 被反驳。

注2:“事实是情人眼里出西施”,认为事实也不是事实,而是因观察者而异。英文“情人眼里出西施”为“beauty
is in the eyes of the beholder”。在同一电视访谈中,Giuliani称“facts are
in the eyes of the beholder”。

注3:Collins本科念弗吉尼亚大学,其创办者为美国第三任总统杰弗逊。Collins的研究生导师为耶鲁大学教授、犹太移民后代。Collins最重要的研究为克隆囊性纤维化(cystic
fibrosis)的罹患基因,这一工作最重要的科学家是香港旅加拿大华人学者徐立之,徐后来曾出任香港大学校长。

图片 5

Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

Director

The National Institutes of Health

Washington, DC

USA

Dear Dr. Collins,

You are highly respected as a scientist who has carried out outstanding
research on genetic mutations underlying human diseases, and as a leader
of the NIH whose mission “is to seek fundamental knowledge about the
nature and behavior of living systems and the application of that
knowledge to enhance health, lengthen life, and reduce illness and
disability”.

NIH is lauded for its contributions to improving the health of
Americans, as well as the health of the humankind. Its tradition and
standards are the heritage of human civilizations, to which ancient
cultures from the Greek, the Indian, and the Chinese have all
contributed.

Intellectual legacy and heritage have been exchanged internationally for
a long time. The West has learned about paper manufacturing, the
compass, the gunpowder, and printing from China. The US has learned much
from Europe.

Scientists with Spines Do Not Bend to Politicians

Your August 20th statement is shocking because it is the first time when
any government official has issued a statement restricting scientific
collaborations in peacetime.

Furthermore, the following, as reported in Scientific American is
appalling: “Collins also wrote to roughly 10,000 NIH grant institutions
encouraging them to set up briefings with FBI field offices about
threats to intellectual property and foreign interference.” No SCIENTIST
in the entire history of humankind has asked FBI equivalents to monitor
“foreign interference”. Some governments have done so, but not at the
initiation of leading scientists or scientists in leadership positions.
Even in the worst times of the Soviet Union, leading scientists had the
spine to do the opposite: the physicist Pyotr Kapitsa rescued his
student Lev Landau when the latter was investigated for anti-Stalin
activities in the peak of Stalin’s power (and terror).

Your letter and your action of encouraging FBI collaborations are thus
extraordinary deviations from the normal practice of science.

You publicly stated a few years ago in Shanghai: science has no national
boundaries because it belongs to the humankind. This was translated and
widely applauded.

Dr. Collins: what you said then is the truth.

Truth is truth. No scientist can bend the truth just because political
leaders or lawyers say otherwise.

The Eternality of Science and the Moral Courage of Scientists

Science is eternal, whereas politics, as the kind practiced in the
present day US, is transient. History has proved that bad politics
perish, as in the cases of the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany. The
Trumpism US will be an exception only if the Sun rises from the West in
the future.

I am sympathetic that most US scientists, while always taught, and often
self-assumed, to be morally upright, usually do not understand history
and do not know how to deal with political pressures of the evil nature,
such as those in Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union.

Attached please find an article (“The Singular Moral Compass of Otto
Krayer”) about a German pharmacologist, who, while in his early budding
career, refused to take up a chairmanship opened up by Nazi firing of a
Jewish scientist. While he could have accepted the position, without
blaming himself for societal ills, Krayer wrote a letter of refusal,
fully anticipating damages to his own career. He was thereafter barred
from all academic jobs and even the use of libraries in Germany. He had
to leave Germany, not because he was Jewish, but because he stood up for
what was right and against what was wrong.

In the end, Nazism and Stalinism had damaged Germany and Russia the
most. Germany, which was leading in mathematics, physics, chemistry and
your own field of genetics before Hitler, has never been able to regain
its scientific strength to the level reached before Nazism.

History can repeat itself if we do not learn from the past, even if the
past was in other countries.

With Trumpism presently prevalent in the US, it is a testing time for
many Americans including American scientists.

At this point, Trumpism in the US can mainly threaten science with
reduction of budgets, nothing compared to careers ruined or lives
destroyed. If allowed to go on the slippery road, how do we know that
competing labs will not report on each other for foreign interferences
or influences when a large number of students and a significant number
of faculty members are foreign-born Should future discussions of science
be separated into “American” and “Foreign” Should future classrooms,
meeting rooms, etc., be similarly separated Should annual meetings of
academic societies and associations refuse to have “foreign influences”
Should NIH funded domestic and international meetings be monitored by
the FBI

It is time for American scientists to show their spines.

Freedom of Scientists and Their Choices of Support

All scientists have the right to work wherever they choose, and the
freedom to collaborate with whomever they deem appropriate.

Scientific research can be supported by any legitimate funding agency,
most of which are governmental across the entire world. Funding of
individual scientists by multiple sources is not an issue of concern,
even when funding comes from different countries.

As recent as 2015, your own NIH and the National Natural Science
Foundation of China (NSFC) announced the U.S.-China Program for
Biomedical Collaborative Research (R01)
(https://gr-ants.nih.gov/grants/guide/rfa-files/RFA-AI-16-006.html). So,
the statement in your August 20th letter that “NIH is aware that some
foreign entities have mounted systematic programs to influence NIH
researchers and peer reviewers” is a total lie unless you are implying
that the NIH is an initiating and active partner in such a conspiracy.
This is clearly targeting China because Russia can barely fund its
science, Europe and Japan have not launched any new programs. China has
launched new programs to recruit scientists, regardless of national
origin but most are scientists of Chinese origin because of linguistic
and cultural differences. China has not tried to influence NIH
researchers or peer reviewers. The “Thousand Talent Program” is to
recruit more scientists, not to influence any other country. NIH is
shameless in distorting the truth. Any and every country has the right
to recruitment. The world should welcome more and more countries to
invest in science and support scientists because science serves the
entire world.

Because no government agency for science funding holds patents or other
intellectual properties resulting from research supported by their
grants, it is completely outside the scope of the NIH but in the realm
of institutions to protect their intellectual properties (IP) and to
assign proper rights to the collaborators in cases of collaborations.
NIH has funded researchers in China for more than 30 years. Naturally,
all those supported by the NIH also have grants from Chinese funding
agencies. Are you going to say that all these investigators represent
foreign influences Furthermore, all their IPs belong to their
institutions. It is hypocritical for the NIH to argue about IPs when
neither the Chinese nor the US government funding agencies are involved
in IPs. The vast majority of grants never lead to valuable IPs. If a few
researchers fail to report multiple sources, it is but a small fault of
an individual with minor consequences, which was blown out of proportion
by your August 20th statement as foreign interferences.

China, having led the world economically before the birth of the US, was
relatively poor economically and could not afford to fund science for
most of the time when the US has been in existence. China is now capable
of funding science, both for the development of China and as a
contribution to the world. China funds pure mathematics and astronomy,
which are not expected to generate any economic benefits for any
particular country in a short time, if ever. The stated mission of the
NIH is not to generate economic benefits, either, a fact that should not
change in the eyes of the beholder. Thus funding for most of the
biomedical sciences should not be a source of conflict between different
countries.

Your Conscientious Heritage

Thomas Jefferson, the founder of your alma mater the University of
Virginia, was an intellectual giant, and a champion for freedom. Had he
been alive today, would he applaud your letter or action

Your own research advisor at Yale came from a culture of great talents
which were made scapegoats whenever Westerners run into troubles of
their own making. The Jewish people were often persecuted, sometimes
blatantly and sometimes in a thinly veiled manner. Your August 20th
letter is obviously targeting scientists of Chinese origin, making
Chinese as the new scapegoat of anti-intellectual irrationality in the
US.

Whether collaborating or competing, Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui played an
important role in the success of discovering the cystic fibrosis
susceptibility gene in the 1980s, for which you shared the credit. In
the 1980s, China was poor and could not offer financial support. Had the
same happened today, it is possible that Dr. Tsui would also receive
support from China. Would you call the FBI to investigate him

If funding agencies decide to pool in resources for worthy research,
that should be welcome, not investigated.

Simple Suggestions

The late John McCain once remarked: “I like to think that in the
toughest moments I’d do the right thing, but you never know until you
are tested”.

This is certainly the toughest moment so far for most American
scientists, especially those in leadership positions. One can only wish
that it would not get any tougher.

Any scientist willing to serve on the Advisory Committee stipulated in
your August 10th letter will be morally tainted. The Committee should be
disbanded. The letter should be retracted.

Will leading American scientists do the right thing, or at least not
willingly and proactively do the wrong thing History will remember how
American scientists stand a true test of character and honor.

Hope for More International Collaborations

Because it is not related to the military and because of its universal
values to the humankind, international exchanges and collaborations are
the easiest in the biomedical sciences.

China is actively planning to start the Chinese Brain Initiative. The US
NIH already has a Brain Initiative. China is interested in supporting
international collaborations in brain research, partly to promote
research that will benefit people of all countries, partly as an effort
to pay our share for common goal snow that China is not as poor as
before.

At such junctures, NIH should discard short-sighted collaborations with
the FBI or self-degrading fear-mongering of “foreign interferences”, and
instead embrace efforts by all countries to support biomedical research.

China has a long tradition of valuing intellectual contributions, but
our science has not been as good as it should. To become a responsible
member of the world, China is now increasing its support in the
sciences. All countries should be welcome for their support of science.
If there are competitions, the Olympic Games have shown us how to
compete.

Fruits of biomedical research will be enjoyed by all humans; science
will remain a major bridge of mutual understanding between people of
different countries and cultures.

Sincerely yours,

Yi Rao, Ph.D.

Professor and Director, PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research

Dean, Division of Sciences, Peking University

Director, Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing

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