Chinese military officer arrested after trying to leave US
Washington Examiner | June 12, 2020 12:52 PM
A Chinese military officer is accused of trying to leave the United States with a cache of scientific research conducted at a California university.
Xin Wang, a high-ranking member of the People’s Liberation Army, was arrested Monday and charged with making false claims on his visa application.
Wang arrived in the U.S. in March 2019 for a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California in San Francisco, where he researched the metabolic function of adipose tissue and worked on projects funded by grants from the Department of Health and Human Services and the National Institutes of Health, according to court documents filed Thursday.
The arrest follows the Trump administration’s announcement last month that it would revoke thousands of visas held by Chinese graduate students and researchers in the U.S. who had ties to universities affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army.
To obtain a visa, Wang allegedly lied about his affiliation with the Chinese military, claiming his service with the People’s Liberation Army had ended in September 2016. In reality, according to the Justice Department, Wang was still associated with the military, which was paying him a stipend while he was in the U.S.
In May, Wang told his supervisor at the university that he was “being recalled to China by his employer, the Fourth Military Medical University, and that he would not return to work at the UCSF lab, thus cutting his fellowship short by approximately one year,” court documents said.
Wang also informed his supervisor that he wanted to collaborate remotely from China and that he had already duplicated some of the research conducted at the California laboratory. Court documents said the duplication of research “was previously unbeknownst” to the supervisor in the U.S.
“Wang was instructed by his supervisor in China, the director of the Fourth Military Medical University lab, to observe and document the layout of the lab at UCSF in order to replicate the lab when he returned to China,” the Justice Department said.
Wang was interviewed by Customs and Border Protection officers at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday as he tried to return to China. He told officers he lied about his military service to increase his chances of receiving a visa and had research on his laptop and an external hard drive that he planned to share with his military colleagues in China, the Justice Department said. Prosecutors said he had already emailed some of the research to a Chinese lab.
The government has asked a judge to keep Wang detained, saying he is a flight risk…