GOP lawmakers want to know why the Biden DOJ dismissed charges against Chinese researchers working in the U.S. who lied about their ties to the Chinese military

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House GOP lawmakers have sent a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland over the Department of Justice’s decision to dismiss all charges against several Chinese researchers and scientists working at American universities who were facing trial for covering up their ties to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Quick Facts

In July 2021, federal prosecutors dropped charges against five suspected Chinese military scientists, including Chen Song, a former researcher for Stanford University, who was accused of lying on her visa to conduct scientific research in the U.S. She was charged last year with “obstruction of justice, lying to the FBI, and two counts of altering, destroying or concealing records with intent to hide them from a grand jury.”

All of the scientists were originally charged by the Trump administration as part of the China Initiative, an effort to root out Chinese espionage.

The Biden DOJ took the actions despite the fact that the government had collected strong evidence supporting the charges. For example, Xin Wang, who worked at the University of California-San Francisco (UCSF) actually told Customs and Border Patrol agents that he was a “Level 9 technician” for the PLA, despite lying on his visa application about no longer being in the military, and also admitted that he was ordered by Chinese officials to observe the layout of UCSF’s lab.

Meanwhile, Juan Tang, a former UC-Davis researcher who was arrested last summer after hiding out in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, allegedly lied about her military career on her visa application. Agents reportedly found pictures of her in her military uniform and articles in China detailing her military career.

“It is not clear whether the Department dismissed these [charges] due to reported misconduct by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or because the Department under your leadership is more invested in pursuing the far-left political goals of the Biden-Harris Administration than in protecting American national security interests,” Reps. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., wrote to Garland on September 27.

According to an article in the Epoch Times, “The letter comes days after the DOJ struck a deal with Huawei Chief Financial officer Meng Wanzhou allowing her to return to China, nearly three years after the executive was arrested in Canada at the request of U.S. prosecutors who had accused Meng of lying to HSBC, causing the bank to violate U.S. sanctions on Iran.” 

“These actions by the Department raise serious concerns about its commitment to confronting the national security threats posed by the People’s Republic of China,” the lawmakers added.

They charged that, at a time when China “has alienated allies and alarmed Americans, our country cannot afford the threat to the United States posed by Chinese espionage.”

Jordan and Biggs demanded that Garland explain why it was in the “interest of justice” to drop charges against these foreign nationals, the “recent developments” that led to the charges being dropped, and the status of the Trump-era China Initiative. In addition, the lawmakers wanted to know whether the DOJ believes that visa applications filed by the Chinese nationals “need clarification” in regard “to an individual’s connections to a foreign military like the PLA,” and “if so, what individual changes need to be made to each application or petition?”

The Chinese Communist Party’s multi-faceted espionage efforts have been well-documented over the past several years, so there is little denying that the presence of Chinese researchers at our major universities who lied about their ties to the PLA is a major red flag.

Yet, for some reason, the Biden DOJ decided to drop charges against several Chinese scientists and researchers who were caught criminally obscuring their status as members of the Chinese military. Jordan and Biggs are right to demand answers, though a bigger question is: Why aren’t more members of Congress making the same demand and sounding the alarm on this? China has been infiltrating our institutions, conducting economic espionage, and stealing technology and intellectual property for years and yet all of our law enforcement and oversight institutions appear to be largely asleep at the switch.

The Biden administration has been vocally opposed to China’s burgeoning, ruthless mission for global dominance, but they haven’t taken much action to curtail President Xi Jinping’s professed plans to “bash in the heads” of anyone who stands in the way of China’s plans for “never-before-seen greatness.”

Meanwhile, dropping charges against individuals accused of hiding ties to the Chinese military comes dangerously close to actually enabling China’s espionage efforts.

In short, this is the very opposite of firm, meaningful action against China’s aggressive advances. Can we have any hope that the Biden administration has any intention of proactively warding off the threats posed by a regime that is now our greatest and most dangerous foe?