August 14, 2022

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The US is unfairly concentrating on Chinese scientists over industrial spying, says report

For years, civil rights teams have accused the US Department of Justice of racial profiling in opposition to scientists of Chinese descent. Today, a brand new report supplies information that will quantify a few of their claims. 

The study, printed by the Committee of 100, an affiliation of distinguished Chinese-American civic leaders, discovered that people of Chinese heritage have been extra doubtless than others to be charged underneath the Economic Espionage Act—and considerably much less more likely to be convicted. 

“The basic question that this study tries to answer is whether Asian-Americans are treated differently with respect to suspicions of espionage,” mentioned the report’s creator, Andrew C. Kim,  a lawyer and visiting scholar on the South Texas College of Law Houston. “The answer to that question is yes. “

The study, which looked at data from economic espionage cases brought by the US from 1996 to 2020, found that just under half of all defendants were accused of stealing secrets that would benefit China. This is far lower than the figures laid out by US officials to justify the Department of Justice’s flagship China Initiative.

The study found that 46% of all defendants were accused of stealing secrets that would benefit China, while 42% of cases involved American businesses.

According to the report, 46% of defendants charged under the Economic Espionage Act were accused of activity that would benefit Chinese people or entities, while 42% of defendants were accused of stealing secrets that would benefit American businesses. 

The numbers directly contradict much of the Justice Department’s messaging around the China Initiative, which was launched in 2018 to combat economic espionage. The department has stated publicly—for example, in the first line of its home page for the China Initiative—that 80% of its prosecutions would benefit the Chinese state, reflecting “theft on a scale so massive that it represents one of the largest transfers of wealth in human history,” as FBI director Christopher Wray described it in 2020.

Since 2019, this system has largely focused educational researchers. 

“Strong evidence of charges with less evidence”

The report was based mostly on an evaluation of public courtroom filings, in addition to Department of Justice press releases, for all Economic Espionage Act prosecutions between 1996 and 2020. It’s an replace of an earlier evaluation, printed within the Cardozo Law Review, which coated the interval as much as 2016. 

Charges for “theft of trade secrets” and “economic espionage” have been each included, with the “economic espionage” cost requiring proof of a “nexus to foreign entity” and accompanied by greater penalties. (These two classes make up solely a portion of the fees underneath the China Initiative; Kim briefly mentions “false statements and process crimes,” and folks have additionally been charged with grant fraud and mendacity on visa purposes, amongst different crimes.)

Because demographic info and citizenship information will not be included in courtroom filings, Kim used names as proxies for race, and he used Google searches when names, like Lee and Park, have been ethnically ambiguous. For citizenship, Kim famous that press releases typically make distinguished point out if a defendant is a “foreign national,” so he assumed that defendants have been all residents until in any other case indicated. 

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