70+ Asian Pacific American, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Organizations Urge U.S. Attorney General to Investigate Possible Profiling of Asian American Scientists



NOV. 16, 2015

 Contact: Mary Tablante;

 (202) 706-6768;


[email protected]


70+ Asian Pacific American, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Organizations Urge U.S. Attorney General to Investigate Possible Profiling of Asian American Scientists

“We firmly believe that otherwise innocent actions by Americans must not become suspicious simply because of the person’s ethnic surname or perceived national origin.”

The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) were joined by more than 70 organizations in sending a letter today to Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking an independent investigation into what appears to be a trend of Asian American scientists being suspected of economic espionage, and indicted and arrested without the full support of the facts.

Science has reported that in just the past year, charges have been dropped against five Chinese-born scientists accused of crimes related to trade secrets theft or economic spying. The most recent cases of potential profiling involve U.S. citizens Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, chair of Temple University’s physics department, and Sherry Chen, a hydrologist and employee of the National Weather Service. All charges against both were dropped—but not before wreaking irreparable damage to their lives, including their careers and reputations.

“We are deeply concerned at the prospect of anyone being targeted for their race, ethnicity, or national origin,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Two is a coincidence, and three is a trend. It is time for a full and independent investigation into the cases of Dr. Xi and Ms. Chen, so there is not even an appearance of profiling in cases moving forward.”

“We thank the more than 70 organizationsin our growing coalition—from 16 NCAPA organizations and the NAACP to the ACLU and People For the American Way,” Kang continued. “This is not a Chinese American issue or an Asian American issue. It is an American issue—to preserve our fundamental values of fairness and due process and to protect our civil rights and civil liberties.”

"Americans across the country are very concerned that individuals appear to be targeted for investigations based on their perceived race, ethnicity, or national origin," said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. "Attorney General Lynch must lead a thorough and independent investigation to assure the American public that the protections afforded by the Constitution and enshrined in Department policy prohibiting profiling are being followed. The broad and diverse coalition of more than 70 civil rights and legal organizations calling for this investigation highlights the importance of a fair and unbiased legal system to our country."

Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and Sherry Chen will join a Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) press conference tomorrow, Nov. 17 at 9:30 - 10:30 a.m. in the Capitol (H-137) with Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Ted Lieu (CA-33).

Earlier this month, 42 members of Congress, in a letter led by Representatives Ted Lieu, Judy Chu and Keith Ellison, called upon Attorney General Lynch to lead the Department of Justice in an independent investigation.

Learn more in NCAPA’s one-pager on this issue.

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.

 Although this letter has been sent, you can still take action by signing up, as an organization or an individual, to receive updates on this issue and to add your name to the list of supporters. Sign up here: http://bit.ly/supportdojinvestigation

Read news coverage on these cases:

New York Times: Accused of Spying for China, Until She Wasn't (May 9, 2015)

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