Chinese consulate in San Francisco harboring fugitive, FBI says

  • The FBI alleges that a biology researcher who lied about her connection to the Chinese military in order to receive a U.S. visa has avoided arrest by taking refuge in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.
  • “The FBI assesses that, at some point following the search and interview of Tang on June 20, 2020, Tang went to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, where the FBI assesses she has remained,” the government said in a court filing.
  • The news comes at a time of increased tension between the United States and China, and increased scrutiny on alleged economic espionage by Chinese citizens working in the U.S.

The FBI alleges that a researcher focusing on biology who lied about her connection to the Chinese military in order to receive a U.S. visa has avoided arrest by taking refuge in the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

According to court filings, Tang Juan was issued a non-immigrant visa last fall to conduct research at the University of California, Davis. But after FBI agents found photos of her in military uniform on the internet, they interviewed her on June 20 about her visa application. She said she had never served in the military and was not a member of the Communist party, the filings say.

After that encounter with the FBI, she headed to the San Francisco consulate, where she’s still staying, the FBI alleges. The government brought federal charges against Tang for visa fraud on June 26.

“The FBI assesses that, at some point following the search and interview of Tang on June 20, 2020, Tang went to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, where the FBI assesses she has remained,” U.S. attorneys wrote in a July 20 court filing.

The filings come at a time of increased tension between the United States and China, and increased scrutiny over possible economic espionage by Chinese citizens working in the U.S.

On Wednesday, the U.S. State Department ordered China to close a consulate in Houston, Texas. Officials said the move was made to protect American intellectual property and “private information.” On Tuesday, the Justice Department claimed that two Chinese citizens had tried to steal trade secrets by hacking into firms working on a vaccine for Covid-19.

Trump administration officials, including FBI Director Christopher Wray, have loudly criticized China’s use of cyberattacks to steal intellectual property from American institutions. The U.S. has also tried to hamper Huawei Technologies over fears that wireless networks using its technology could be used to spy on Americans.

www.cnbc.com/2020/07/22/chinese-consulate-in-san-francisco-harboring-fugitive-fbi-says.html