House Bill Aims to Restart "China Initiative"

House Bill Aims to Restart "China Initiative"

Controversial Trump administration program targeted Chinese academics for possible espionage.

The Department of Justice ended a controversial program nearly two years ago called the China Initiative, which targeted mostly ethnic Chinese academics and their links to China. The program was stopped in 2022 after criticism of racial profiling. Now, a proposed House spending bill wants to bring the initiative back.

More here: House bill aims to restart controversial DOJ program that targeted Chinese academics

So yeah, we’re still doing this. The China Initiative, created during the Trump administration, was an effort to investigate and prosecute Chinese espionage in the United States, and targeted academics and scientists of Chinese descent who found themselves under scrutiny for past affiliations with Chinese institutions.

About 90% of the more than 70 cases prosecuted under the initiative involved people who were ethnically Chinese. Just about a quarter were convicted and usually for much lesser charges. In February 2022, the Department of Justice ended the China Initiative, citing in part racial and ethnic bias, though the FBI says it still has more than 2,000 cases related to China. The DOJ did not respond to a request for comment. And now a proposed House spending bill wants to restart the initiative.

In some cases where the Justice Department was unable to find evidence of espionage, officials brought lesser charges, only to drop them — but not before damage was done to the scientists’ reputations and careers. The suspicion extends to national security employees with ties to Asia, who are regarded as potential intelligence threats because they have family members in, say, China or Taiwan.

More here: Asian American Officials Cite Unfair Scrutiny and Lost Jobs in China Spy Tensions


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