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The EU and China pledged to spend up EUR 630 Million on joint research projects over 2016-2020 through the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism (CFM), with the EU putting in EUR 500 Million from Horizon 2020 and the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology EUR 130 Million. While affirming the value of joint research projects, some EU researchers reported the difficulties in accessing data in China due to the need for institutional permission. The problem is said to exist more in specific fields with commercial potential (e.g. biotech and engineering) than others.
Adding to the list of obstacles identified in past projects, including different deadlines for submitting and disclosing research results or language barrier for European researchers to access data in Chinese language, political censorship from the central level is kicking in for projects deemed sensitive. The most recent example is COVID research.
Although the World Health Organization (WHO) praised China, in January, for its transparency in sharing data and genetic sequence of the coronavirus, China is reportedly tightening up control over research into the origin of COVID in the past months.
China is currently under immense global pressure, notably from the US and Australia, to conduct an independent review on the origin of the virus, which it rejects and attempts to silence through economic coercion.
More information here.