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Zelinger defends cooperation with China

Zelinger defends cooperation with China

The fact that Anton Zeilinger will bring the Nobel Prize in Physics to Austria in 2022 has earned him much praise and appreciation. At the same time, critical reports about his cooperation with Chinese educational institutions have also increased. The physicist may have “fallen into the Chinese trap,” he wrote in Die Presse, and helped China make further advances in espionage through his research.

Datum magazine also recently covered this topic and criticized that Zelinger has proven “particularly useful” to China when it comes to exploiting knowledge from Austrian universities for military purposes. De Presse and Datum did not obtain a statement from the quantum physicist who researches and teaches at the University of Vienna.

“None of our knowledge has been applied in China.”

In an interview with, Zelinger rejects the criticism: “None of our knowledge that was transferred to China was used in any way,” says Zelinger, who was surprised by the re-evaluation of his collaboration with Chinese researchers: “When we started collaborating with… China Twenty years ago, everyone said: Great, we finally have cooperation with China!

Things are different now, but nothing has changed for him: for him it is still about educating students and providing them with knowledge. “It is always said that science, along with art, is one of the bridges between political systems, and this is how I see my cooperation with my Chinese colleagues,” says Zelinger. He dismisses the fact that some say he works with China: “I work with individual scientists there.”


The interview took place on the sidelines of a lecture given by Anton Zeilinger on Monday at the IMC Krems at the invitation of the Rotary Club of Krems-Wachau.

“Everything can be used for bad things.”

Zeilinger's research in the field of quantum physics is often associated with the possibilities of teleportation and encrypted communications. However, not even Zelinger himself can say whether and how his findings could actually change the world. “If anyone claims to know what that means in everyday life, they are telling a story. That was the case with all inventions,” Zelinger says.

Zeilinger rejects science's responsibility for using its findings: “Everything can be used for bad things. There are no inventions, not even the kitchen knife, that cannot be used for good and bad things.

“Science does not bear responsibility.”

Zelinger is convinced that what scientific knowledge is ultimately used for is a matter of policy: “It is not science that bears responsibility, only individuals.” When asked about his personal responsibility, Zelinger said: “All my life I have done pure basic research that no one can know – at the moment I make it – what is good for them.

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