A two-sentence clause included in the U.S. spending bill approved by Congress a few weeks ago threatens to reverse more than three decades of constructive U.S. engagement with the People’s Republic of China.
The clause prohibits the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) from coordinating any joint scientific activity with China.
Representative Frank Wolf (R-VA), a long-time critic of the Chinese government who chairs a House spending committee that oversees several science agencies, inserted the language into the spending legislation to prevent NASA or OSTP from using federal funds “to develop, design, plan, promulgate, implement or execute a bilateral policy, program, order, or contract of any kind to participate, collaborate, or coordinate bilaterally in any way with China or any Chinese-owned company.”
By prohibiting the OSTP from working with China, Wolf claims the ban will bear on “the entire bilateral relationship on science and technology.”
“It’s the whole ball of wax,” said Wolf in an interview with Science Insider.
Although the ban will expire at the end of the current fiscal year in October, Wolf will seek to make the prohibition on any scientific collaboration between U.S. research agencies and China permanent.