Lin discusses increased surveillance on faculty of Chinese heritage

October 29, 2021

The Department of Justice's China Initiative was launched in 2018 to reduce theft of U.S. intellectual property funded by the government. A recent survey by the U-M Association of Chinese Professors (UM-ACP) found an increased sense of worry over government surveillance among faculty of Chinese heritage at the University. Ann Chih Lin, who conducted the survey, said the 33% response rate shocked her.

"I don’t think the response rate would have been nearly so high if it had been an outside group contacting them," she told Science.

She expanded on the results of the survey in a conversation with Diverse Education.

"At U-M, we found that 64% of faculty surveyed did not feel safe as Chinese-origin academic researchers in the U.S.,” Lin said. "I don’t think our results should be read as a complaint about the university feeling unsafe, but I do think the university has not fully understood the scope of it."

“We would like universities to be more proactive in making the case that America’s national and economic security is best assured by continuing to support open science and research rather than engaging in a witch hunt to investigate which people might be suspicious,” said Lin. “That’s shooting ourselves in the foot.”

Read the items about the U-M survey and Lin below: