CAPAC Chair Chu Questions Attorney General Lynch on Investigations Into Chinese American Scientists

Sep 13, 2016

Washington, D.C. – During a Congressional Progressive Caucus meeting today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27), Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), questioned Attorney General Loretta Lynch on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigations into Chinese American scientists who were wrongly accused of alleged espionage, as well as the Department’s implementation of its new implicit bias training. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“I am grateful that Attorney General Lynch has once again come to Capitol Hill and I always appreciate the opportunity to speak with her on issues important to my constituents and the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. It’s especially important that we get clarification into DOJ practices in the wake of high-profile arrests of Chinese American scientists like Professor Xiaoxing Xi. Even though the charges were dropped in these cases, the damage to reputations and careers has already been done, and many AAPI scientists and engineers live in fear that they could be targeted next.

“I have asked Attorney General Lynch in private and in Congressional hearings for greater clarity into what went wrong in these cases and why there appears to be an ongoing pattern and practice of Asian Americans being singled out by federal law enforcement and prosecutors. We in CAPAC have also called for an independent investigation into these cases. But so far, we have not received any answers. Our community deserves more than silence. At the very least, those whose lives were turned upside down by these DOJ investigations, only to have the charges dropped, deserve an apology.

“It is clear that changes need to be made. And I was encouraged by Attorney General Lynch’s commitment to implementing new Department-wide implicit bias training and her willingness to take input from the AAPI community. I am hopeful that this implicit bias training will help to ensure that an individual’s race, national origin, or language ability does not lead to wrongful profiling. Nobody should have to fear that they could be arrested at gunpoint in front of their family, as Professor Xi was, simply for e-mailing while Asian.”

Background:

On June 27, 2016, the Department of Justice announced new Department-wide implicit bias training for all of its law enforcement agents and prosecutors. The training will be administered to more than 23,000 agents employed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), as well as the approximately 5,800 attorneys working in the 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices across the country.

On May 13, 2016, CAPAC sent a letter to the DOJ Office of Inspector General demanding an independent investigation into whether race, ethnicity, or national origin played a part in recent cases in which Chinese Americans were suspected of espionage. The letter comes after similar requests were made in letters sent last May and November, as well as during a CAPAC meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch in November 2015.

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The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and Members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community. Currently chaired by Congresswoman Judy Chu, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life since it was founded in 1994.