New York, NY (January 20, 2022) — Committee of 100 issued the following statement today regarding the dismissal of all charges against MIT Professor Gang Chen in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts after the U.S. Attorney’s Office had filed a motion to dismiss those charges.
The Justice Department had indicted Professor Chen in January 2021, charging him with two counts of wire fraud for allegedly concealing his ties to China when seeking federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Energy, one count of concealing a foreign bank account, and one count of filing a false tax return. At the time Chen was charged in January 2021, the Justice Department announced it as part of the Department’s China Initiative.
“The China Initiative has had chilling effects on U.S. academic research and unjustly targeted Chinese American researchers through racial profiling,” said Zhengyu Huang, President of Committee of 100. “The China Initiative has ruined the lives of innocent Americans and hurts America’s ability to lead in scientific research and innovation. Even when cases are dismissed, many Chinese and Asian Americans have their lives, careers, and health greatly affected. Our support and sympathies go to Professor Chen and his family as they work to rebuild their lives. Committee of 100 supports the protection of our national security, but not at the expense of our cherished civil liberties. For too long, Chinese Americans and the AAPI community have been seen as the perpetual foreigner – strangers in our own homeland. Today, we are all Gang Chen and stand united.”
Committee of 100 has long contended that the China Initiative, originally formed as an effort to combat economic espionage against American industry, had been distorted into a campaign to unfairly and mainly target Chinese American researchers in U.S. universities. With few convictions and multiple dismissals, the China Initiative has tragically damaged the lives and careers of too many innocent Americans and has actually hurt the nation’s ability to lead in global scientific research and innovation. Committee of 100 has urged — along with many leading AAPI community organizations, civil rights groups and others in higher education — the China Initiative should be ended because the program is misguided and causes far too much collateral damage to individuals and institutions.
Committee of 100 Research
Committee of 100 has been a defining voice and provider of data for and about the Chinese American community. In September of 2021, Committee of 100 and legal scholar Andrew Kim released research that showed significant racial disparities against Chinese and Asians in Economic Espionage Act (EEA) prosecutions, showing those with Chinese and Asian names are punished more severely and arrested at a higher rate than Western defendants. For example, the Department of Justice issues a press release announcing EEA charges in over 80% of cases that involve defendants with Asian names. In contrast, the Department issues press releases in only half (51%) of EEA cases involving defendants with Western names.
In October of 2021, Committee of 100 and the University of Arizona released research that revealed significant racial profiling among scientists of Chinese descent and the consequences for the U.S. scientific community. For example, based on nearly 2,000 qualified responses, 42.2% of scientists of Chinese descent felt racially profiled by the U.S. government, while only 8.6% of scientists of non-Chinese descent felt so.
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.
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