NCAPA Welcomes Department of Justice Rules that Could Address and Prevent Profiling of Asian American Scientists




APRIL 27, 2016

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

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NCAPA Welcomes Department of Justice Rules that Could Address and Prevent Profiling of Asian American Scientists

The U.S. Department of Justice issued new rules to provide greater oversight, consultation, and coordination for all national security related cases.

Although the Department of Justice did not directly tie these changes to any particular case, they appear to be in response to recent high profile cases in which Asian Americans were suspected of economic espionage but were wrongfully indicted and arrested without the full support of the facts.

"We welcome the Department of Justice’s new rules to provide greater oversight in national security cases," said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. "When espionage-related charges are brought against Asian American scientists and dropped without explanation, it gives at least the appearance of profiling based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Changes were clearly necessary, and while we hope that the additional coordination and oversight will prevent future incidents from occurring, these new policies are too late to repair the damage to the lives, reputations, and careers of Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and Sherry Chen. Both deserve a public apology, and Ms. Chen deserves to keep her job."

Science has reported that charges have been dropped against five Chinese-born scientists accused of crimes related to trade secrets theft or economic spying. U.S. citizens Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, chair of Temple University’s physics department, and Sherry Chen, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service, were each accused of sharing secret information with China. All charges against both were dropped, but left lasting damage to their careers and reputations.

In response, last November, the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA), along with more than 70 Asian American and Pacific Islander, civil rights, and civil liberties organizations, sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch calling for an independent investigation into these cases.


Based in Washington, D.C., the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans is a coalition of 35 national Asian Pacific American organizations that serves to represent the interests of Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) communities and to provide a national voice for our communities’ concerns. Our communities are the fastest growing racial/ethnic group in the United States, currently making up approximately six percent of the population.


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