Qian Xuesen came to the United States to study aeronautical engineering at MIT and Caltech. He helped the U.S. military develop jet-assisted takeoff technology during World War II, and became the founding director of Caltech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The United States even sent Xuesen to Germany to help interrogate Nazi scientists, including famed rocket scientist Wernher von Braun who went on to help found the U.S. space program.
Colleagues and scientific peers thought Xuesen a genius. But then the FBI charged him with being a secret Communist and arrested him on charges of subversive activity. The Los Angeles Times notes that no classified documents were ever found on Xuesen's person, and that his Caltech colleagues stood by him as he rejected the accusations.
Xuesen eventually submitted to the pressure and decided to return to China, as part of an exchange for 11 American airmen captured during the Korean War. He became a Chinese national hero, and oversaw an accelerated development of Long March rockets that would form the foundation for China's missile and space programs.
"It was the stupidest thing this country ever did," said Dan Kimball, a former Navy Secretary, in a later Aviation Week interview. "He was no more a Communist than I was, and we forced him to go."
China has since become the third nation to launch humans into space, along with Russia and the United States. It also became the third nation to send a human being out on a spacewalk last year, and has announced plans to launch a manned lunar mission and a military space station.
It's certainly nice to see more nations join the space club, and China certainly earned its place. But the United States might contemplate what could have happened during the early days of the space race with yet another rocket genius.
For now, U.S. and Chinese relations continue to display a certain frostiness when it comes to the space race . A People's Liberation Army Air Force Commander Xu Qiliang told Xinhua of China's intent to develop offensive and defensive space capabilities, and that "only power could protect peace." His remarks came on the same day that Qian Xuesen passed away.
[via Los Angeles Times]
This is the united states WAY of acquiring and disposing off people after the success of any achievements. If you're not an american by origin(genetically), I advise you dont accept their offer. There's alot of things you can do for the whole world, and not for the americans(by origin) ONLY.
The story can not be true. If U.S. government forced Qian to leave America, how possibly would Chinese government give away 11 hostages?
"For now, U.S. and Chinese relations continue to display a certain frostiness when it comes to the space race ."
Perhaps that's because the Chinese are regularly hacking computers and stealing business and military intelligence from America, including designs for the W-88 nuclear warhead. It's a shame if this scientist was wrongfully deported, but that doesn't change the fact that China is not as friendly as they would like to appear. They have a miserable human rights record and are responsible for more mass murder, largely of their own people, in the last 70 years than any other country.
actually, the United States should be deporting more foreign nationals who are here solely for corporate/military espionage. the U.S. is slowly losing its edge because of these moles.
"Perhaps that's because the Chinese are regularly hacking computers and stealing business and military intelligence from America" - just like how U.S. and other western countries stole and robbed from China and trade opium for treasures during the weak Qing dynasty. Absolute justice does not exist.
I recall reading about Qian when I was a teen from a Chinese magazine (that's right, they called him Father of Chinese Space Rocket). This was during the McCarthy witch hunt that political conservatives branded him a communist along with hundreds of Americans. He was imprisoned for 5 years without trial and eventually "sold" to China for release of American POW during the Korean war. Chinese officials have repeatedly admited that without Qian, China's space program will be delayed by 30-40 years. US never officially apologized for his detainment.