Justice Department’s ‘China Initiative’ Takes a Hit
July 25, 2021 (EIRNS)—The Department of Justice’s “China Initiative,” namely the FBI’s campaign to find “Reds under the bed” among visiting Chinese scholars, hit a major roadblock on July 22, when they decided to drop the charges against five Chinese researchers caught up in this sweep. Many of them have been in jail awaiting judicial procedure for almost a year. The FBI is covering its behind by saying that the accused were in any case facing a few months in jail, and, therefore, they have really served their time! But there is obviously more to this story than meets the eye.
There has been a large outcry among Chinese-American groups about the FBI campaign’s “profiling” and hysteria. Some scholars have even committed suicide because of the pressure. And in one instance, the case of a person who was accused of “conspiring” with the Chinese authorities in his scholarly work was exposed as a thorough hoax by the FBI agent running the operation, leaving plenty of egg on the FBI’s collective face.
The issue could also be a hot potato for the Biden Administration. The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus has issued clear warnings against “heightened xenophobic speech ... which leads to violence” against Asians in America, as a result of the growing geopolitical tensions with China. And the Committee of 100, representing 100 of the leading Chinese-Americans in business and academia, has made the issue into a major campaign. There has also been pushback by many of the U.S. academic institutions to which these scholars were affiliated. Moreover, there may be no coincidence that the FBI decision to drop charges was made two days before Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman was to go to China to meet Wang Yi, as well as her Chinese counterparts.
The “Reds under the bed” campaign led to the closing of China’s Consulate in Houston in July 2020, because of alleged “interactions” between some of targeted scholars and Chinese diplomats at the Consulate. If relations are improved between the two countries, the Consulate will probably be reopened.