Joined by 90 members of Congress, U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Los Angeles) on July 29 sent a bicameral letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland requesting a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the repeated, wrongful targeting of individuals of Asian descent for alleged espionage.
Over the years, multiple people of Asian descent have been falsely accused by the DOJ of espionage. The common thread in every case was a defendant with an Asian surname. There have now been multiple reports of false accusations of spying alleged against individuals such as Wen Ho Lee, Sherry Chen, Xiaoxing Xi, Anming Hu and others.
The letter asks for an update on department-wide implicit bias training mandated in 2016 after DOJ dropped espionage charges against Asian researchers. It also contains information about DOJ’s China Initiative, a program launched under the Trump administration to counter trade secret theft, hacking and economic espionage by the Chinese Communist Party.
“Racial profiling is both illegal and corrosive to our democracy,” the Congress members wrote. “A particular form of this discrimination has disproportionately affected the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, which is the false belief that somehow Americans of Asian descent are disloyal.”
On June 27, 2016, the DOJ announced department-wide implicit bias training after members of Congress and the public expressed concerns about racial profiling to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The training was to be instituted in response to a number of high-profile cases of espionage charges brought against Asian American scientists and professors.
“Our hope was that the training would prevent future instances of innocent people being wrongfully arrested on the basis of race, ethnicity or national origin,” the letter states. “Unfortunately, with the recent case of Professor Anming Hu, there appears to be an ongoing pattern and practice of people of color being singled out by law enforcement and prosecutors.”
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