New York, NY (January 26, 2024) – This week, a coalition of Democratic U.S. Senators and Representatives issued a letter to Majority Leader Schumer, Minority Leader McConnell, Speaker Johnson, and Democratic Leader Jeffries expressing concern about language directing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to reinstate the National Security Division (NSD)’s “China Initiative,” language that was included in the explanatory materials for H.R. 5893.
Committee of 100, an outspoken critic of the China Initiative, issued the following statement from Interim President and Executive Director Cindy Tsai:
“The China Initiative was a failed program that fueled racial animosity, xenophobia, and suspicion towards the AAPI community and Chinese Americans in particular. Reimplementing this program would send shockwaves of fear across the AAPI community. We welcome the opportunity to work with Congressional leaders to recognize, address, and prevent future harms to the AAPI community and continue the dialogue towards a shared vision of a better, more secure and inclusive America.”
The Department of Justice announced the end of the “China Initiative” program in February 2022 admitting the program was racially profiling Chinese American citizens and other residents of Chinese origin or ancestry.
Research Tied to the China Initiative
In October of 2021, Committee of 100 and researchers from the University of Arizona unveiled a joint research project focused on race and ethnicity in science and research. The research had a special focus on the impact on professors and researchers who are of Chinese descent. The survey data showed that the China Initiative was producing a wave of fear among scientists of Chinese descent, where scientists have described cutting ties with their collaborators in China, no longer hiring Chinese postdocs, and limiting communications with scholars in China, even at the expense of their own research projects. 42% of scientists of Chinese descent felt racially profiled by the U.S. government, while only 8% of scientists of non-Chinese descent felt so.
Additionally, research jointly led by Committee of 100 and legal scholar Andrew Chongseh Kim shed light on significant racial disparities in the implementation of the Economic Espionage Act (EEA) of 1996 and under the China initiative. Data from the research was drawn from nearly 300 defendants across nearly 200 separate cases. Half of the defendants with Western names (49%) convicted under the EEA were given sentences of probation only, with no incarceration. In contrast, the vast majority of defendants of Asian descent (75%) were sent to prison, in particular defendants of Chinese descent (80%). Additionally, Chinese and Asian defendants convicted of economic espionage received average sentences of 27 and 23 months respectively, roughly twice as long as the average sentence of 12 months for defendants with Western names.
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 more than 30 years, Committee of 100 has served as a 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, and Facebook for more information.
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