Jun 14, 2019

U.S. targeting Chinese cancer researchers

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals

The Trump administration's "economic cold war" with China has spread to the search for cancer cures, as the administration tries to rid U.S. research institutions of Chinese influence, Bloomberg reports.

The impact: "Chinese people in America, including U.S. citizens, are now targeted for FBI surveillance," Bloomberg's Peter Waldman writes.

What it means: "The aim is to stanch China's well-documented and costly theft of U.S. innovation and know-how. The collateral effect, however, is to stymie basic science, the foundational research that underlies new medical treatments," Waldman adds.

Details: Cancer researcher Xifeng Wu, an American citizen, resigned in January from a top position at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, after a months-long investigation into her professional ties to China.

  • The investigation was led by the National Institutes of Health and the FBI. Three other Chinese-American scientists also recently left MD Anderson.
  • An NIH official said Wu and 4 other scientists had violated confidentiality requirements and didn't disclose paid work in China.

Yes, but: Cancer research has become increasingly globalized, and U.S.-China collaborations have produced meaningful work.

  • "Ways of working that have long been encouraged by the NIH and many research institutions ... are now quasi-criminalized," Waldman writes.

What they're saying: "Even something that is in the fundamental research space, that’s absolutely not classified, has an intrinsic value," Lawrence Tabak, principal deputy director of the NIH, told Bloomberg.

  • "This pre-patented material is the antecedent to creating intellectual property. In essence, what you’re doing is stealing other people's ideas."

Go deeper: For Trump, 2020 is a China trade war election

Go deeper

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Photo: David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

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The big picture: Floyd's death in Minneapolis police custody is the latest reminder of the disparities between black and white communities in the U.S. and comes as African Americans grapple with higher death rates from the coronavirus and higher unemployment from trying to stem its spread.

Updated 58 mins ago - Politics & Policy

U.S. cities crack down on protests against police brutality

Demonstrators gather at Lafayette Park across from the White House to protest the death of George Floyd in Washington, D.C. Photo: Yasin Ozturk/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Major U.S. cities have implemented curfews and called on National Guard to mobilize as thousands of demonstrators gather across the nation to continue protesting the death of George Floyd.

The state of play: Hundreds have already been arrested as tensions continue to rise between protesters and local governments. Protesters are setting police cars on fire as freeways remain blocked and windows are shattered, per the Washington Post. Law enforcement officials are using tear gas and rubber bullets to try to disperse crowds and send protesters home.

Trump to invite Russia and other non-member G7 countries to summit

President Trump at Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

President Trump told reporters on Saturday evening he would postpone the G7 summit to September and expand the meeting to more nations that are not members of the Group of 7.

Details: Trump said he would invite Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the summit, according to a pool report. "I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries," he said.