US: Researcher being harboured at Chinese consulate in SF

US: Researcher being harboured at Chinese consulate in SF

US: Researcher being harboured at Chinese consulate in SF

WASHINGTON — The Chinese consulate in San Francisco is harbouring a Chinese researcher who lied about her military background, the Justice Department said Thursday as it announced charges against that scientist and three others accused of concealing their government ties.

The four researchers are accused of lying on applications to work in the United States about their status as members of China’s People’s Liberation Army. All are charged with visa fraud.

The FBI, meanwhile, has interviewed visa holders in more than 25 American cities who are suspected of concealing their ties to the Chinese military. The Justice Department believes that the deception is part of an ongoing, government-sponsored effort to steal research and innovation from American universities for Beijing’s economic gain.

“This is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions,” John Demers, the Justice Department’s top national security official, said in a statement.

The allegation comes amid rising tension between the U.S. and China, particularly related to theft of intellectual property — including by Chinese researchers with military and government connections — for Beijing’s benefit. Just this week, the U.S. ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, and the Justice Department charged two Chinese hackers with targeting firms working on vaccines for the coronavirus.

Trump administration officials have escalated their public condemnations of China in the last several weeks, with speeches by FBI Director Chris Wray, Attorney General William Barr and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Three of the four defendants have been arrested. The FBI believes that the fourth, Tang Juan, has been harboured for weeks in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco. The Justice Department says the scientist, who is listed in some court filings as Juan Tang, lied about her military affiliation in a visa application last October as she made plans to work at the University of California, Davis and again during an FBI interview months later.

Agents found photographs of Tang in a uniform of the PLA civilian cadre and also reviewed articles from China that identified her military affiliation.

The FBI last month interviewed Tang, when she denied having served in the military or knowing the significance of the insignia on the uniform she was photographed wearing, and also found more evidence of her military affiliation when they later searched her home, according to court filings.

“The FBI assesses that, at some point following the search and interview of Tang on June 20, 2020, Tang went to the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, where the FBI assesses she has remained,” prosecutors wrote in a July 20 court filing that sought the detention of another Chinese scientist who the Justice Department says lied about her military background to enter the U.S.

The document alleges efforts by multiple Chinese nationals to conceal their ties to the military or government, and says “the Chinese government has instructed PLA members in the United States to obstruct justice by deleting information from their devices.”

In a statement, UC Davis said its medical school was providing law enforcement officials with information they had requested. The university said Tang had been a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology whose work was funded by a study-based exchange program affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education and Xijing Hosital.

Tang left the university at the end of June, and her work was based solely in the research laboratory, the school said.

An Associated Press reporter was unable to leave a phone message with the consulate Thursday morning. No attorney for Tang was listed in court filings.

____

Follow Eric Tucker on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

Eric Tucker, The Associated Press

Just Posted

The Government of Alberta identified 115 new COVID-19 cases Sunday, bringing the provincial total to 3,089.
(Black Press file photo)
Red Deer COVID cases continue to fall

114 cases in Red Deer, down one from Saturday

Maskwacis Pride crosswalk (Left to right): Montana First Nation Councillor Reggie Rabbit, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Louise Omeasoo, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Katherine Swampy, Samson Cree Nation Councillor Shannon Buffalo, Samson Cree Nation Chief Vern Saddleback.
Pride in Maskwacis

The 4th inaugural Maskwacis Pride crosswalk painting took place on Saturday 12, 2020.

1913 Days returns this weekend, though it will look different than in years past. This year, in keeping with COVID-19 restrictions, there will not be a parade or some other favourite events. (File Photo)
Softer version of 1913 Days returns to Sylvan Lake this weekend

1913 Days is returning with a different look as the community begins to comes out of the pandemic

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives at the 2021 budget in Edmonton on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta launches COVID vaccine lottery with million-dollar prizes to encourage uptake

The premier says the lottery will offer three prizes worth $1 million a piece, as well as other prizes

The City of Red Deer sits at 249 active cases of the virus, after hitting a peak of 565 active cases on Feb. 22. (Black Press file image)
Red Deer down to 119 active COVID-19 cases

Province identifies 179 new cases Saturday

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during an appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Appeal Court rejects stay for Alberta couple facing third trial in son’s death

Pair accused in their earlier trials of not seeking medical attention for their son sooner

Calgary Stampeders’ Jerome Messam leaps over a tackle during second half CFL western semifinal football action in Calgary, Sunday, Nov. 15, 2015.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
CFL football will be played this summer in Canada

Governors vote unanimously in favour to start the ‘21 campaign on Aug. 5

Citizenship Minister Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is announcing that Indigenous people can now apply to reclaim their names on passports and other government documents. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous people can now reclaim traditional names on their passports and other ID

Announcement applies to all individuals of First Nations, Inuit and Métis background

This undated photo provided by Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails shows a scout donating cookies to firefighters in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, as part of the Hometown Heroes program. As the coronavirus pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many Girl Scout troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons. That resulted in millions of boxes of unsold cookies. (Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails via AP)
Thinner Mints: Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies

Since majority of cookies are sold in-person, pandemic made the shortfall expected

In this artist’s sketch, Nathaniel Veltman makes a video court appearance in London, Ont., on June 10, 2021 as Justice of the Peace Robert Seneshen (top left) and lawyer Alayna Jay look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Alexandra Newbould
Terror charges laid against London attack suspect

Crown says Nathaniel Veltman’s four counts of first-degree murder constitute an act of terrorism

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Most Read