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Recently my company, Huawei, was strongly criticised by several members of the US Congress. They asked the US secretary of education to investigate whether our cooperation with US universities on basic scientific research might threaten US national security. I believe this criticism displays an ignorance of how contemporary science and innovation work and I recently described it as “ill-informed” in a media interview. I did not mean this as a personal attack. Rather I was seeking to highlight the importance of academic freedom as an essential feature of modern universities, one that underpins all technological development and helps cultivate the next generation of scientific talent. Academic freedom is the cornerstone of higher learning. This freedom from political and other interference allows the US consistently to attract the world’s brightest minds to study and conduct research within its borders. It also supports the US’s continued status as a global technology leader. I hold a...

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