Wen Ho Lee/ John Lee
Xiaoxing Xi/ John Lee
In recent years, the U.S. government has wrongfully prosecuted multiple Chinese Americans with espionage related crimes, including Guoqing Cao, Shuyu Li, Sherry Chen, and Xiaoxing Xi. These U.S. citizens were widely labeled as spies for China before the government dropped all their charges with no explanation, apology, or compensation. We are demanding accountability from the federal government.
These high profile cases, and others where the government has overreached against Chinese American scientists, highlight a trend of overzealous targeting of Asian Americans in the name of national security. Nobody should be held under suspicion and prosecuted on the basis of their race, ethnicity or national origin. In these cases, the U.S. Department of Justice failed to do its proper due diligence or consult with independent scientific experts on the facts before infringing on the rights of innocent people and irreversibly damaging their lives and reputations.
Profiling in the name of national security has unfortunate historical precedence, from Japanese American internment during WWII to suspicion of Chinese Americans during the McCarthy era to law enforcement targeting of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian communities post-9/11. Over 15 years ago, Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese American scientist, was accused of spying for China and put in solitary confinement for months before it was determined he was not. It is important to make sure these dark histories do not repeat themselves.
Today, the government has still not publicly acknowledged any wrongdoing for these recent prosecutions, despite calls from the New York Times editorial board, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, and many members of congress among others. As national security tensions continue to flare, we must demand more transparency and accountability, and a stop to reckless and race based targeting.
If you are approached for a “voluntary interview” by investigators with the Federal Bureau of Investigation or any other law enforcement agency, you have rights. Be prepared for potential encounters with law enforcement by knowing your rights.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice1 (Advancing Justice) and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), leading legal organizations dedicated to protecting the civil rights and liberties of Asian and Pacific Islander communities, are coordinating a request for stories from Chinese Americans (regardless of citizenship status).
After a number of high profile cases involving Chinese Americans who were unjustly arrested or investigated for national security or espionage (spying)-related charges (e.g. Xiaoxing Xi, Sherry Chen, etc.), we are providing a strictly confidential environment for Chinese Americans to share their experiences with law enforcement and/or seek free legal assistance.
To share your story, or for free, confidential legal assistance, please contact Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus attorney Christina Sinha at (415) 848-7733 or at email@example.com. For more information about our work, visit www.advancingjustice-alc.org
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