China is planning to establish a new science and technology university amid the ongoing China-US conflict.
The tentative plan is to name the university after Qian Xuesen, also known as Hsue-Shen Tsien, a prominent scientist who led China’s space and missile programs.
The university, to be built in the city of Liuyang, Hunan Province, will “support the development of higher education in the region,” according to a three-year plan published on the official website of the local provincial government.
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The move comes amid the increased rivalry between China and the US.
In April, the US Commerce Department significantly expanded the universe of firms in China potentially subject to export controls of national security sensitive technologies, including semiconductors.
In May, US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation to block certain graduate and Ph.D. Chinese students associated with entities in China that implement or support China’s Military-Civil Fusion (MCF) strategy, from using F or J visas to enter the US.
Last Thursday, Trump issued executive orders banning Chinese messaging app WeChat and TikTok, the short-form video app owned by Beijing-based ByteDance, from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their parent companies.
The move to ban TikTok and WeChat also marks the first time the government “has attempted to ban a software application running on millions of mobile phones” in the United States, according to Paul Triolo, head of geotechnology at Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy, via CNN.
“China needs top science and technology universities badly as the US tightens restrictions on Chinese students and researchers,” Zhao Qizheng, former director of China’s State Council Information Office and former nuclear physicist, told the state-owned media outlet Global Times on Tuesday.
Zhao added that China needs a top university of science and technology that demands great professors, excellent students, top level teaching and research concepts and sufficient financial support.
Detailed plans for the university have not yet been finalized, reported the Global Times, citing an official from the provincial educational department.
Qian, widely recognized as the “father of Chinese aerospace”, graduated from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 1934. The following year, he left China for graduate study in aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and later studied aviation engineering at the California Institute of Technology.
In 1955, he returned to China and started working to develop China’s space program. In 1960, he successfully produced the nation’s first missile. In 1966, a nuclear-tipped missile was successfully launched with Qian as the administrator of the “missile combined with nuclear bomb” program. In 1965, the China central government took Qian’s advice on developing and launching an artificial satellite, and appointed him as the first president of the China Academy of Space Technology.