CAPAC Member Statements on Acquittal of Dr. Anming Hu After Mistrial Based on False Evidence

Sep 10, 2021 Issues: Other Issues

Washington, D.C. — On Thursday, US District Judge Thomas Varlan rejected a US Department of Justice request for a retrial and acquitted Dr. Anming Hu following a mistrial in which FBI agents admitted under oath to knowingly building a case on falsified evidence. Tried as part of the problematic “China Initiative,” which presumes Chinese scientists and researchers to be possible spies based only on ethnicity, Dr. Hu, a Canadian researcher working at the University of Tennessee Knoxville since 2013, was accused of spying for China based on a paperwork filing error and the FBI’s admitted lies.  On July 1, CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu joined Rep. Jamie Raskin, Chair of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights an Civil Liberties, for a roundtable on the use of ethnic profiling against Chinese American scientists and the need to end the China Initiative. Members of CAPAC issued the following statements:

CAPAC Chair Rep. Judy Chu:

“The trial of Dr. Anming Hu – the first case brought to trial under the flawed China Initiative – is a perfect example of why this problematic initiative must be ended. By building cases based on a person’s ethnicity and looking for a crime instead of starting with a crime and looking for a suspect, the FBI has contributed to an atmosphere of suspicion towards Chinese Americans. This has led to many young Chinese Americans deciding to avoid careers in science out of fear they too will be investigated or worse, and it is particularly dangerous amid rising anti-Asian hate crimes. Worse, the FBI has demonstrated a willingness to fabricate evidence in support of their espionage claims rather than admit the case was flawed from the start. For all of these reasons, I am disappointed that the Department of Justice chose to pursue this case, even after the mistrial ruling. And it underscores why the China Initiative must be ended. There is a legitimate need for counterespionage work in our government, but that work must be based on evidence and not race. I am glad this case has been dropped and Dr. Hu acquitted. But the damage to his career and personal life have been done. And, until the China Initiative is ended, others will face similar harassment and punishment for no reason other than their ethnicity.”

CAPAC Whip Rep. Ted Lieu (CA-33):

“Professor Hu’s acquittal echoes similar cases of Wen Ho Lee, Sherry Chen, and Professor Xiaoxing Xi, all of whom were falsely accused of spying for China. The Department of Justice should (1) apologize, (2) commit to doing the implicit bias training that the Department previously committed to, and (3) investigate whether racial profiling is being used by Department personnel. These investigations and prosecutions are not inconsequential – they can destroy lives and contribute to the unfair and unjustified suspicion of those who are of Asian descent. The Department’s Inspector General must also investigate.”

Rep. Jamie Raskin (MD-08):

“I am heartened by Judge Varlan’s decision to acquit Dr. Anming Hu of all charges. Though nothing can undo the damage that this unjust prosecution wreaked on Dr. Hu’s life, I am thankful that his case has now been put to rest. However, Dr. Hu is not the only ethnically Chinese scientist to have faced selective and outrageously unfair prosecution by our government. Along with many members of the Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Subcommittee, I have been concerned about the potential targeting of ethnically Chinese scientists by the federal government, and we will continue to work with CAPAC to uncover and prevent illegitimate profiling of our own people.”