Friday, 28 October 1988
CHINESE STUDENTS SEEK APS ENDORSEMENT OF "FAIR TREATMENT"
A nationwide group of about 100 Chinese science
students and scholars have joined in a letter-writing campaign to
key members of Congress requesting a review of a United States
Information Agency decision regarding their visa status. Under
the terms of their J-1 "exchange visitor" visas, they are not
eligible for "temporary worker" or "permanent resident" status if
the Chinese government financed their visit. They would have to
return to China for two years before they could become eligible.
It is the definition of "financed" that is at issue. Beginning
in 1987, the Chinese government has identified some 4,000
students and scholars whose programs it claims to have financed.
In most cases, the students contend, they were merely advanced a
ticket on a Chinese airline, which they were compelled to repay
in hard currency. USIA, however, which oversees exchange
programs, has so far sided with the Chinese government
(WN 1 Jul 88). In addition to
letters to key members of Congress, President
Reagan has been petitioned by a group of 59 Chinese PhD's. An
appeal to APS President Val Fitch for APS endorsement of their
campaign was signed by 17 physics postdocs and graduate students.
. A DEFINITION OF "FINANCED" WAS CONTAINED IN A RESOLUTION
introduced by Rep. Lantos (D-CA), on 14 Oct, but it was lost in
the adjournment pileup. It would have solved the Chinese problem
by defining "financed" as a minimum of 50% support. The motion
will come up next year. A GAO study of the even-handedness of
USIA is called for in the State Department Authorization Act.
3. MEANWHILE, CHINESE STUDENTS ARE USING THE "ITALIAN CONNECTION"
when their J-1 visas expire. Italy encourages Chinese students
and scholars on J-1 visas in chemistry, physics and mathematics
to come and grants them an open-ended visa with a guaranteed
job. It does not prejudice re-application to the US. The first
Chinese to accept are reportedly working on superconductivity.
4. RESEARCH COSTS IN NUCLEAR SCIENCE ARE INFLATING TWICE AS FAST
AS THE CONSUMER PRICE INDEX,
according to a report prepared by a
subcommittee of the Nuclear Science Advisory Committee chaired by
Peter Parker of Yale. A survey of the items that make up the
bulk of the operating costs in nuclear research was found to have
increased 7.6% per year from 1981-87, compared to an average
increase of 3.7% per year for the Consumer Price Index. If
overhead costs are included, the increase in the cost of nuclear
research rose by 8.5% per year. But even this is just a lower
limit. The real rate of inflation, they contend, includes
"sophistication inflation." It is difficult to quantify, but
the argument is that as the frontiers of knowledge are advanced,
the cost of further advances goes up. Since the principal
operating costs are salaries, it seems clear that the result for
other fields should be about the same as for nuclear research.