Ending the China Initiative and Completing the Implementation of the National Security Presidential Memorandum
Will Protect Both Chinese Americans and American Industry and Higher Education
New York, NY (February 3, 2022) — Committee of 100 strongly urges the Department of Justice (DOJ) to terminate its China Initiative as soon as possible and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to follow up on the commentary submitted by the scientific and AAPI communities – including Committee of 100* – on the implementation of National Security Presidential Memorandum 33 (NSPM-33). Both steps would do much to protect the civil rights of Chinese Americans and to enhance the diversity and strength of the nation’s pipeline of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) contributors who fuel the future of American industry.
The announcement from Committee of 100 comes on the heels of Chinese Americans’ celebration of the Lunar New Year holiday, the Year of the Tiger.
Committee of 100 supports the use of federal law enforcement to protect U.S. intellectual property rights from threats posed by all foreign countries. Though the DOJ intended its China Initiative to help achieve that goal, recent Committee of 100 studies** and other independent third-party reviews have shown that only a small fraction of cases has involved actual economic espionage. Studies have shown that a disproportionately large percentage of cases investigated and charged people of Chinese descent, particularly U.S. university faculty members of Chinese descent.
The China Initiative has demonstrably fallen short of its stated objective and, instead, has helped fuel racial animosity and suspicion towards the AAPI community and Chinese Americans in particular.
Committee of 100 urges both the DOJ and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to terminate the China Initiative immediately and to return to the traditional methods of pursuing criminality based solely on the evidence at hand and without preconceptions or biases based on nationality, race, or ethnicity.
The majority of the cases brought against university researchers under the auspices of the China Initiative have alleged failures to comply with a maze of inconsistent and even contradictory conflict of interest or disclosure requirements, not economic espionage. Committee of 100 commends OSTP for taking charge of the NSPM-33 process and leading the effort to standardize such conflict-of-interest requirements across various federal agencies.
Committee of 100 believes that America’s future national and economic security will depend on a steady pipeline of talented STEM contributors. The misguided aims of the China Initiative, together with known inconsistencies noted in NSPM-33, have diminished the reputation of the United States as the most sought-after place for STEM students to come to study and work. The DOJ must stop the China Initiative and the OSTP must lead the NSPM-33 implementation effort. Only when both steps are taken can we better protect the rights of Chinese Americans and assure America maintains its global leadership in industry and higher education.
About Committee of 100
Committee of 100 is a non-profit U.S. leadership organization of prominent Chinese Americans in business, government, academia, healthcare, and the arts focused on public policy engagement, civic engagement, and philanthropy. For over 30 years, Committee of 100 has served as the preeminent organization committed to the dual missions of promoting the full participation of Chinese Americans in all aspects of American life and constructive relations between the United States and Greater China. Visit https://www.committee100.org/ or follow Committee of 100 on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for more information.
*Committee of 100 letter to Dr. Eric Lander, Assistant to the President and Director, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy
**Racial Profiling Among Scientists of Chinese Descent and Consequences for the U.S. Scientific Community
Committee of 100 and the University of Arizona unveiled a joint research project focused on race and ethnicity in science and research. Designed to understand how research and academics have been affected by the limitations that the U.S. government has placed on international exchange with China, the research had a special focus on the impact on professors and researchers who are of Chines descent.
**Racial Disparities in Economic Espionage Act Prosecutions: A Window into the New Red Scare
Research jointly led by Committee of 100 and legal scholar Andrew Chongseh Kim shed light on significant racial disparities in the implementation of Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996 and under the China initiative. Data from the research is drawn from nearly 300 defendants across nearly 200 separate cases.