By Louis Chan
AsAmNews National Correspondent
A hearing is scheduled to conclude today that is expected to determine whether Chinese American scientist Sherry Chen will get her job back with the National Weather Service.
The federal agency fired her in 2015 even though federal prosecutors suddenly dropped spy charges against her without explanation.
The hearing is being held by the Federal Merit Systems Protection Board in Cincinnati’s federal courthouse where dozens of Asian Americans demonstrated in support of Chen.
Many held homemade signs that read “no racial profiling in the workplace,” “equal justice for all,” and “stand with Sherry Chen.”
“I’m really, really grateful,” Chen said to the media before her hearing. “My life is turned upside down, not once but twice, so I really lost everything.”
Among those to testify on the first day of the hearing was a supervisor at the National Weather Service who brought her suspicions of Chen’s activities to authorities.
Chen shared what she was said were public links to data from the National Weather Service with a friend and scientist in China. She was hauled away from her office in Ohio in handcuffs in 2014, then just as suddenly the charges were dropped months later.
“The continued lack of transparency or accountability from the federal government for criminalizing, surveilling and infringing on the rights of these individuals is unacceptable,” said a statement from Asian Americans Advancing Justice which also cited the cases of Xiaoxing Xi, Guoqing Cao, and Shuyu Li. “Additionally, these cases fit in a concerning historical trend of the U.S. government unfairly targeting Chinese Americans as threats, from FBI targeting of Chinese Americans during the McCarthy era to the prosecution and solitary confinement of Wen Ho Lee.”
Dozens of Chen’s supporters sat through the first day of the hearing before administrative judge Michele Schroeder. Among those was Sato Kazuya.
“I am supporting Sherry Chen as a Japanese American,” said Kazuya to AsAmNews. ” I believe all Asian Americans are in the same boat. Our treatment in this country often are tied to our ancestral land however many generations we may be apart from the first generation immigrants.”
“It is wrong. Sherry Chen is a loyal American citizen for 20 years, said Lee Wong to WLWT. “She was educated in the U.S. and she’s American just like us. We are all immigrants.”
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