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Washington's spy charges paranoid

Six Chinese citizens were charged recently by the US Justice Department for allegedly spiriting trade and technological secrets from US companies back to China. One of them, Zhang Hao, a professor from Tianjin University, was arrested when he landed in US soil. He travelled from China to the US at the invitation of an international academic meeting, which is probably entrapment by the FBI.

Zhang, along with another "suspect" Pang Wei, who is also a professor from Tianjin University, gained their doctorates in the US and worked in different American companies till 2009, when they went back to China to assume teaching posts and launched a joint company with Tianjin University. According to an indictment, they took stolen military-level technologies back to China, an act which is "espionage."

The US, which has a sophisticated legal system, has deliberately ignored the fact that espionage is usually conducted secretly. However, from when they resigned their jobs in the US to when they ran their own company, Zhang and Pang's actions were public. Even if their actions could trigger some lawsuits, the severity couldn't be worse than violating intellectual property rights.

As a powerhouse of global technological innovation, the US is always the first choice for foreign students and scientists who are thirsty for knowledge. Afterward, many of them are committed to applying what they have learned to the development of their own countries. This is a reciprocal model which has reinforced the status quo of the US as the biggest R&D center, and promoted the transfer of technologies.

Zhang must be one of these devoted learners. But now, grave concerns about the US abusing its Espionage Act are spreading among Chinese scientists living in the US. They are wondering if they could be the next target.

There has been an increasing number of "Chinese spies" exposed by the US in recent years, but most of the charges are not solid. The latest case is Sherry Chen, a hydrologist for the federal government, who was accused of spying for China. But the charges were dropped in the end. These cases show that the US is becoming paranoid about China's rise. However, repeated mistakes along these lines have still not caused American society's introspection, which has gravely compromised the US human rights record.

The US has a history of indulging in persecution of certain groups of immigrants by using the Espionage Act. We hope Chinese-Americans won't suffer from this because of China's rise.

[Source: Global Times, Editorial Beijing, 21May15]

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small logoThis document has been published on 22May15 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.