Tokyo is concerned that China is attracting more and more academics from the Archipelago: 18,460 of them spent at least a month in China during the fiscal year ended at the end of March 2019, 25% more in four years, according to the Japanese Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology (MEXT). China is ahead of South Korea as the preferred destination for Japanese researchers, and remains behind the United States. But, in these last two countries, their number continues to decrease.

Authority of theoretical physics, professor at the Astronomical Observatory of Japan, Toshitaka Kajino is known to have become in 2017 the first director of the brand new International Center for Research on Big Bang Cosmology at the University of Aeronautics and Beijing astronautics. “Scientific activity is international and without borders, in total contradiction with the idea of ​​nationalism. Any scientific achievement is a common good of humanity ”, explains to World Mr. Kajino.

The researcher has declined offers in the United States and Europe, favoring the proposal from China through the so-called “1,000 talents” initiative. This ambitious but controversial project to recruit foreign researchers launched in 2008 has attracted 7,000 scientists, engineers and financial experts from different countries. “The Chinese offer is not limited in time. The budgetary situation for science is rather good ” and “Chinese students can achieve the best qualifications. They work really hard ”, specifies the physicist.

Article reserved for our subscribers Read also In China, a program to attract brains

Through his ideals, Professor Kajino today symbolizes the scientific ambitions of China, which aspires to world technological leadership by 2050 and seeks for this to attract brains from around the world.

A budget for science of 215 billion euros

However, according to a 2019 report by the U.S. Senate National Security Committee, China’s science goals “Would not be to advance science, but to promote its national security interests”. Beijing would have launched 200 international recruitment projects, including “1,000 talents”, qualified by the Senate report of “Threat to American interests”. In August 2020, Canadian intelligence called on universities to be cautious about this project which would serve to persuade researchers to share – “Willfully or by force” – the results of their research. Insisting on scientific cooperation, the Partnership for Competitiveness and Resilience (CoRe) concluded Friday, April 16 in Washington by US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, seems a way to thwart this strategy.

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