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How suspicions of spying threaten cross-border science

[2019.12.02, Mon 11:03] In the West, there are worries that China will pull ahead.Now a new report from an American intelligence startup called Strider alleges that China is getting its lead in quantum by "Exploit[ing] Western government research funding to train Chinese quantum scientists at Western research institutes." At the center of this strategy is Jian-Wei Pan, a man known in Beijing as the country's "Father of quantum," according to the report, viewed by MIT Technology Review. The Strider report notes that seven months after the USTC cooperation agreement was signed, CETC developed a prototype quantum radar to detect stealth aircraft. The quantum radar advance cited in the Strider report got a lot of attention and praise, especially from Chinese media. "The level of concern over quantum radar is utter nonsense," says Michael Biercuk, a professor of quantum physics and quantum technology at the University of Sydney. Biercuk, who is also the CEO and founder of the quantum tech company Q-CTRL, is similarly skeptical of Micius's achievements in quantum key distribution, the secure communication technology in which Pan's team has done groundbreaking work: "QKD is not 'unbreakable' or unhackable," he says. In the face of the Strider report's assertions that his program is part of a Chinese national strategy to exploit European and Western resources for the benefit of the Chinese military, Pan doubled down on what he said is his core concern: exploring fundamental questions in quantum science, like superposition, entanglement, nonlocality, and gravity. "As a matter of fact, the whole field of quantum information was born from questions in the fundamental issues in quantum mechanics," Pan said in an email.
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