The U.S. has accused four Chinese researchers of hiding military ties

The U.S. has accused four Chinese researchers of hiding military ties

The U.S. Department of Justice announced on Thursday that four Chinese investigators had lied about their links to the People's Liberation Army, one of whom had sought refuge at the San Francisco Consulate in the country.

The department said the four were part of China's attempt to "infiltrate" American companies to gain scientific and technological know-how.

Assistant Attorney General John Demers said, "This is just another part of the Communist Party of China's plan to exploit our open society and educational institutions."

Prior to Thursday's announcement, Beijing called the report a "naked political harassment."

Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said, "The US government is constantly monitoring, harassing and unilaterally detaining Chinese students and scholars in the United States and accusing Chinese scholars."

"China will take the necessary steps to protect its citizens and legal rights."

- Research in American Universities -

The four were sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 000 250,000 for visa fraud.

Things fall between trade, military, and diplomatic tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The United States is thwarting Beijing's attempt to acquire American scientific and industrial secrets to enhance its technological capabilities and economic power.

In recent weeks, three researchers, Song Chen, Wang Jin and Tang Juan, have been charged in California, all of whom are doing scientific and medical research at major universities.

While Song and Wang were arrested and detained, Tang said the San Francisco consulate had made its way to avoid arrest.

Fourth, Zhao Kaikai, a graduate student studying Artificial Intelligence at Indiana University, was arrested in Indiana last week.

Officials and the court have filed a lawsuit alleging that the PLA and the Communist Party of China are lying about their visa applications.

Tang is a cancer treatment researcher at the University of California-Davis, who arrived in the United States on December 27, 2019.

The song is doing neurological research at Stanford and has been in the country since December 2018.

Wang, who also visited in December 2018, is doing research at the University of California-San Francisco.

The Justice Department said it was confirming the status of visiting Chinese researchers in 25 U.S. cities and interviewing them about possible PLA and Communist Party ties.

It found pictures of Tang with the logo for the PLA "civilian cadre" and information describing his associate researcher at the Chinese Air Force Hospital.

The FBI says a search of its apartment in Davis, California, turned up documents showing it was a member of the Communist Party of China.

In the case of Song, he erroneously stated that he ended his service in the PLA in 2011, but in fact, continued to work at the Air Force University.

Wong was arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on June 11 for demanding to leave the country.

The Justice Department has accused him of not being completely honest about his current position as a PLA professor. He allegedly did research to send his American host back to China.

The FBI reports that Zhao worked at the National University of Defense Technology, the PLA's major science research university, and studied at the Chinese Air Force's Elite Aviation University.

- Increased stress -

In September 2019, U.S. authorities arrested a Chinese man named Liu Ongsong in New Jersey on charges of helping other Chinese fraudsters obtain visas for American students and researchers.

The Justice Department said Liu's operation was to bring in Chinese to recruit American citizens to work in China's research programs.

The United States has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston this week, with Secretary of State Mike Pompey on Thursday calling it a "center of guerrilla activity and intellectual property theft."

The State Department said, "These activities have grown significantly over the years in scale and scope."

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