HomeAsian AmericansStudy: Asians punished 2Xs as severely under Espionage Act

Study: Asians punished 2Xs as severely under Espionage Act

By Louis Chan, AsAmNews National Correspondent

If you have an Asian name, a new study found you could be punished twice as severely under the Economic Espionage Act as someone with a western name.

That’s the finding of a new white paper released Tuesday by the Committee of 100.

Researchers also found that one out of three Asian Americans charged under the Espionage Act are falsely accused.

Examples include Anming Hu, a professor at the University of Tennessee , National Weather Service employee Sherry Chen, and Temple University professor Xiaoxing Xi.

“Already his career and reputation have been harmed, just like Doctor Xi and Sherry Chen who suffered personal and professional harm only to have the charges dropped completely.”” said Rep Judy Chu (D-CA) about Hu.

Gary Locke, president of the Committee of 100 and former US Ambassador to China and governor of Washington, called the findings “absolutely shocking and unacceptable.”

Researcher Andrew Chongseh Kim, an attorney with Greenberg
Traurig, LLP and Visiting Scholar at South Texas College of Law says his team spent thousands of hours analyzing 276 individual defendants charges in 190 separate cases.

Since 2009, he found the majority of people charged with EEA offenses have been people of Chinese descent. Prior to 2009, only 16% were people with Chinese names while two-thirds were defendants with Western names.

Kim’s study also revealed that half of Western defendants convicted received sentences of no incarceration and probation only. On the other hand, 75% of Asian defendants were sent to prison with an average prison sentence of 23 months.

Chinese defendants received sentences averaging 27 months.

“If we want to protect American economic interest, we need to protect based on facts, not fear,” said Kim who said we are living in a climate of “a new red scare.”

Maggie Lewis, a professor of Law at Seton Hall, called the impact on this “chilling.” She says the consequence of this has been a squeeze on a pipeline of talent from China.

Zhengyu Huang  president  of Committee of 100, said too often they are criminalized for “researching while Chinese.”

Ashley Gorski, an attorney specializing in national security for the ACLU went further. She said the Department of Justice has created a “climate of fear” that even clerical errors will be criminalized.

“Failure to disclose information does not present a national security issue,” she said.

Frank Wu, president of Queens College emphasized that he is not accusing investigators at the Department of Justice of racism, but rather of implicit bias.

42% of defendants under the Espionage Act since 1996 haver been accused of stealing secrets to benefit American people or entities. 46% were accused of stealing secrets for the benefit of China.

As Gorski pointed out, cracking down on economic espionage is not about a specific country.

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