Federal prosecutors have dismissed the case against Chinese national Tang Juan, whose trial on visa fraud charges was to begin on July 26, the Sacramento Bee reports. Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert declined to comment and Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko Coppola gave no reason for seeking the dismissal, which has little or nothing to do with criminal justice.
According to a federal criminal complaint filed on June 26, 2020, in the Eastern District of California, Tang applied on Oct. 28, 2019, for a nonimmigrant visa to conduct cancer research at the University of California at Davis. She answered no to the question have you served in the military? and denied affiliation with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Tang was issued a J-1 visa on Nov. 5, 2019, but that was premature, according to other evidence in the complaint.
The FBI found an April 14, 2019, article on a Xian, China, health care forum that showed Tang in a military uniform bearing the insignia of the Civilian Cadres of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army. The FBI also found two other articles listing Tangs employer as the Peoples Liberation Armys Air Force Medical University (AFMU), also known as the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU).
According to a July 23, 2020, report in the Davis Enterprise, Tang told the FBI she was required to wear the uniform and was unaware of the insignias meaning. That claim was hardly credible and the FBI search found Tang wearing a different Peoples Liberation Army uniform. FBI agents also learned that Tang had identified herself as a member of the CCP when she applied for benefits.
UCDavis officials told the Enterprise that Tang came through an exchange program with Xijing Hospital, which includes eight specialized medical centers of the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army (PLA). U.S. Attorneys Talbert and Coppola didnt show any of that evidence to be false, and produced nothing to show that Tang had answered truthfully.
Talbert once taught professional responsibility as an adjunct professor at the UCDavis King Hall School of Law. Talbert took over from McGregor Scott after the Biden administration fired 55 U.S. attorneys nominated by President Donald Trump.
The case of Tang, as the Bee reported, is one of the dozens initiated by the Trump Administration through its China Initiative in 2018 to prosecute alleged instances of trade secret theft and economic espionage by researchers who were accused of lying about their backgrounds to obtain access to American research institutions on behalf of the Chinese military.
As Reuters reports, the dismissal comes as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman is set to visit China for a meeting with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and other officials. That visit could help set the stage for further exchanges and a potential meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year.
In Beijing on July 23, The Associated Press reports that Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the United States of arresting its citizens studying in the country under fabricated charges, violating legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals. Zhao urged the United States to immediately release the person involved and earnestly guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals in the U.S.
How soon Tang returns to China remains unclear, but other realities dont stand in doubt. The United States gains little or nothing from the exchange programs with China. Tangs visa, like those of other Chinese researchers associated with the PLA and CCP, never should have been granted in the first place. Her case should have been prosecuted as espionage.
According to July 20, 2020, court documents that cite Tang, Xin Wang, and other Chinese nationals, the cases are part of a program conducted by the Peoples Liberation Armyand specifically, FMMU or associated institutionsto send military scientists to the United States on false pretenses with false covers or false statements about their true employment. Evidence exists of copying or stealing information from American institutions at the direction of military superiors in China and the Chinese regime instructing these individuals to destroy evidence and in coordinating efforts.
By any definition, thats espionage. Embattled Americans can expect a surge in this activity following the dismissal of Tang Juans visa-fraud case.