(Washington, D.C., May 23, 2018) – Award-winning hydrologist Sherry Chen continues her quest for justice at a press conference convened by Asian American non-profit organizations and joined by members of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. Sherry, a U.S. citizen who worked for the National Weather Service predicting floods, was the victim of “gross injustice,” according to a decision just issued by a judge of the Merit Systems Protection Board. The judge ordered the federal Department of Commerce, to restore Sherry to her job protecting the public, and Asian Americans have rallied behind Chen. Despite the detailed findings in a 135-page opinion, the Department has announced its intention to appeal. (The decision is available in full at http://bit.ly/MSPBDecisionText.)
Sherry’s case began with racial profiling. Even though she had won awards for helping save lives from dangerous floodwaters, after she visited her elderly parents in China, she was targeted. She was accused of crimes such as espionage, interrogated without being advised of her rights, and then brought under federal prosecution and terminated from employment. On the eve of trial, however, the government dropped all criminal charges. Sherry was always, and remains, an innocent American. Her case has attracted national media coverage, including front-page articles in the New York Times here and a joint profile on the 60 Minutes television show with another victim of what the investigative journalists called “collateral damage.” The MSPB decision offers details of the government’s mishandling of the matter and refusal to acknowledge the facts.
Sherry herself has said, “As a public servant, I have been in the front line protecting people’s safety and their property. I made my contribution to this country. I have been an innocent American and a law abiding citizen. However, my life has been turned upside down twice by our government for doing nothing wrong. I am glad to receive the court’s favorable ruling on my MSPB claim.”
Her important river forecast model was recently published in a prestigious scientific journal. Yet she has been forced to continue her fight for justice, because of the government’s appeal.
Sherry’s lawyer, Steve Simon of Cincinnati, said, “The ruling we have received from the MSPB judge is a blockbuster. The judge not only thoroughly rejected the many baseless charges against Sherry, but the judge also laid bare the scandalous conduct by the Commerce Department. The agency buried evidence that would have exonerated Sherry – during the criminal investigation leading to her arrest and then, again, during the disciplinary investigation before her termination.”
Community organizations have noted that her case follows the internment of Japanese American during World War II, the Wen Ho Lee case of twenty years ago, and multiple other contemporary instances where it appears the government has used racial profiling as a technique to target Asian Americans, especially researchers, scientists, and others in “STEM” fields. Recent comments by leading officials such as FBI Director Christopher Wray reveal that they regard almost all people of Asian, specifically Chinese, background as potentially suspect, without distinctions based on citizenship or conduct.
Committee of 100 President Frank H. Wu said, “The Sherry Chen case has meant so much to Asian Americans, especially Chinese immigrants, because they identify with her. Sherry could be your sister, cousin, or aunt. She is representative. Even though she wanted to contribute to America, she was singled out on account of who she is. So many of us have had that experience too.”
C100, a non-profit organization, has supported Sherry through its Legal Defense & Education Fund. At its national conference in Los Angeles two years ago and in Silicon Valley this past week, Sherry received standing ovations from standing room only crowds.
Haipei Shue, President of United Chinese Americas (UCA), a community organization, said, “UCA and Chinese American community shall fight with Sherry until justice prevails for Sherry and our community! It’s wrong to prosecute Sherry; it’s wrong to terminate her job; and it is especially wrong now for DOC to deny Sherry justice by appealing.”
C100, UCA, and the Ohio Chinese American Association (OCAA) jointly organized the press conference. They have worked with a total of fourteen organizations to protest FBI Director Wray’s comments, issuing the following statement. They have pointed out that Sherry’s case is not isolated. Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, also a naturalized citizen, faced similar claims, and, as demonstrated by all charges being dropped, likewise is wholly innocent.
The details of the Sherry Chen press conference are as follows.
WHERE: Cannon House Office Building Room 421, Washington, DC
WHEN: May 23, 2018, 9:30 am EDT
(华盛顿哥伦比亚特区，2018年5月23日) — 在由多个美国亚裔非营利组织召开、有国会亚太裔议员团成员参与的新闻发布会上，曾屡获政府褒奖的水文学家陈霞芬继续寻求伸张正义。陈霞芬是美国公民，之前在美国国家气象局从事洪灾预测工作。美国考绩制度保护委员会法官在不久前公布的判决书中指出，陈霞芬是“严重不公正”行为的受害者。法官责令美国联邦商务部恢复陈霞芬的工作，美国亚裔人士也团结在一起支持她。尽管长达135页的判决书中已列出十分详细的调查结果，美国商务部仍宣布了上诉意图。（判决书全文详见：http://bit.ly/MSPBDecisionText）
导致陈霞芬案的根本原因在于种族标签化偏见。陈霞芬曾多次因成功预测洪灾，保护了美国人民的生命财产安全，并受到褒奖。然而即便如此，她在去中国看望了年迈的父母回美后，便成了被针对的目标。政府指控她有间谍嫌疑，并在没有告知她所拥有权利的情况下对她进行了审问。随后，陈女士被政府告上联邦法院，并遭到商务部解雇。然而，在开庭前夕，检方撤销了对她的全部指控。陈霞芬从始至终都是一名无辜的美国公民。她的案情受到了全美媒体的关注和报道，其中包括《纽约时报》的头版文章（文章链接），以及《新闻六十分钟》的一期专门介绍陈霞芬和另外一位受害者所遭受 “附带伤害” 的节目。考绩制度保护委员会的判决详细指出了政府在处理此案时的不当行为以及拒绝承认事实的行为。