By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, July 29: Over a hundred Nobel laureates have signed a statement denouncing Chinese government attempts to bar two famous personas from the Nobel Prize summit in April. The Chinese embassy in Washington called the National Academic Sciences (NAS) in March to remove Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and noted Taiwanese chemist Yuan Tseh Lee from the list of speakers at the summit.
According to the report published by the Science Magazine, the staffers at the Chinese embassy repeatedly called to insist that the speakers should not have the platform to speak, however, NAS and Nobel foundation denied the requests from China. Another email with the same demand was received by NAS on April 25, a day before the start of the summit.
The statement said that China intended to “bully the scientific community” earlier this year, as a NAS spokesperson, William Kearney said, “We condemn this harassment, and have warned the Embassy against this inappropriate conduct.” A strange incident was also reported on April 26 during a session titled “Science as a Human Right”, the summit’s streaming platform went black for about 10 minutes from an alleged cyber attack.
However, there is no evidence at the moment to suggest that the calls and email from the embassy had any connection with the cyber attacks. Anna Sjöström Douagi, Vice president for science and programs at the Nobel Prize Museum, says the Nobel Foundation will wait for the investigation to conclude before taking any action. “Since we don’t know what happened, we can’t do anything,” she further said.
“Regardless of whether these attacks were linked to the demands from the Chinese embassy, we are outraged by the Chinese government’s attempt to censor and bully the scientific community by attempting to prevent two of our fellow Laureates (or indeed anyone) from speaking at a meeting outside of China,” the statement read.
The two noted speakers are both considered “separatists” in the eyes of the CCP government. The Dalai Lama has led the Tibetan movement since he left Tibet in 1959, whereas former head of Taiwan’s national academy of science, Academia Sinica, Yuan Tseh Lee has said that he has also borne the brunt of censorship from China before, probably because he supported Taiwan’s independence.