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U.S. scientists accuse Trump administration of denigrating scientific expertise

(Xinhua)    16:01, July 22, 2020

More than 1,200 U.S. scientists have signed an open letter, accusing the Trump administration of denigrating "scientific expertise," as the U.S. government downplays the threat of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The open letter has gained signatures rapidly during the epidemic because scientists have witnessed the government's inability and bigotry in tackling the coronavirus crisis, a report by The Guardian said on Monday.

Seeking to "restore science-based policy in government," the open letter started in 2016 as a response to Trump administration's refusal to accept climate scientists' advice and initiating U.S. withdrawal from the Paris climate accord, according to the website of the letter.

It rebukes the Trump administration for "denigration of scientific expertise and harassment of scientists," warning that "the dismissal of scientific evidence in policy formulation has affected wide areas of the social, biological, environmental and physical sciences."

In September 2016, 378 scientists signed the letter and the number increased to over 1,000 in April 2018, according to The Guardian.

The U.S. government's recent moves to deal with the pandemic, including seeking to block funding for virus testing and tracing as well as attacks on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's guidelines for school reopening, have pushed more scientists to sign the letter.

"Every single week practically you hear about scientists being dismissed or relocated and key positions not being filled," Ray Weymann, an astrophysicist and a co-organizer of the open letter, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

"Over the last two years this feeling just built up more and more and it was really highlighted by the pandemic," he told The Guardian.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wen Ying, Liang Jun)

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