The current scandal over tons of apparently faked immunology research implicates Xuetao Cao, the Chinese chairman of research integrity:
There is also legitimate concern that totalitarian governments do not create an environment in which science can flourish. Science requires transparency, it requires valuing method over results, and it should be ideologically neutral. These are not concepts that flourish under a totalitarian regime. Also, the scientists who get promoted to positions of respect and power are likely to be those who please the regime, by proving, for example, that their cultural propaganda is real. So the selective pressures for advancement do not prioritize research integrity.
Cao, I think, embodies all of this. This should not be viewed as an isolated incident, or even researcher. The very fact that Cao has risen to the highest heights of setting the standards for science in China means that we have to look at the systemic implications of this case.
There are a couple of other lessons we should note as well. First, and unfortunately, we need to look at all research coming out of China with an especially careful eye. The system is broken, and cannot be given the benefit of the doubt.Steven Novella, “Scientific Fraud in China” at Neurologica Blog
Indeed. The central weakness of totalitarianism is that it exalts the powerful lie over the fact. But nature doesn’t reward that behavior. It may take a long or short time for the system to collapse (and other systems collapse for other reasons). But the insistence that 2+2=5 if the Party says so is a lethal flaw.
Will the machine crush the human spirit in the meantime? At Mind Matters News, we’ve been following Beijing’s high-tech attempts to suppress various people groups?
Hongkongers: The dread that lies ahead They fear the fate of the Uyghurs, under “complete video surveillance” They dread 2047 when Hong Kong comes completely under the jurisdiction of the Communist Party and is subject to the CCP’s rule of law rather than Hong Kong’s own laws under the current “one country, two systems” regime.
Tiananmen Square 30 Years On: Words Still Have Power Back then, students fought oppression via the fax. They depended on free media in Hong Kong to tell the world
The unadvertised cost of doing business with China: It’s a big market, with one Big Player, and some strange rules. In China, censorship includes democracy, human rights, sex, George Orwell’s 1984, and Winnie-the-Pooh (because the stuffed literary bear has been compared by some Chinese bloggers to their President). Such censorship, say many, minimizes the value of the internet.
China: What You Didn’t Say Could Be Used Against You An AI voiceprint could be used to generate words never said.
In China, high-tech racial profiling is social policy. For an ethnic minority, a physical checkup includes blood samples, fingerprints, iris scans, and voice recordings. The Chinese government seeks a database of everyone in the country, not only to track individuals but to determine the ethnicity of those who run up against the law.
The internet doesn’t free anyone by itself. China is testing 100% surveillance on the Uyghurs, a strategically critical minority.