Researcher charged with visa fraud is hiding at Chinese consulate in SF, federal prosecutors say

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Federal prosecutors say a Chinese researcher who has now been charged with visa fraud is hiding out inside the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.  

In a statement, the U.S. Department of Justice says in all four Chinese research scientists have been charged with visa fraud because on applications to work in the United States, they lied their status as members of the people’s liberation army, which is part of the Chinese military.

In a statement, the DOJ says “this is another part of the Chinese communist party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions.”

“This is just part of a larger strategy to make China the target for the Trump reelection campaign,” David Zweig said.

Zweig is professor Emeritus at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He says while those charged may be guilty, the majority of Chinese researchers in this country are honest and many are being falsely accused, which could have ultimately have a detrimental impact on the joint research the two countries do.

“That collaborative research is very important to the U.S. just as it is to China,” Zweig said. “Some say it’s more important to the U.S. if you look at some of the measure and applications so that comes at risk.”

Three of the four charged have already been arrested.  

Xin Wang conducted research focusing on metabolism and obesity at U.C. San Francisco in 2019.

Chen Song conducted neurological research at Stanford University in 2019 and Kaikai Zhao conducted research at Indiana University.

The 4th person charged who is believed to still be inside the Chinese consulate in San Francisco is Juan Tang, who conducted research in the Department of Radiation Oncology at U.C. Davis from January to June of this year.

This could be just the beginning, the FBI says its been to more than 25 U.S. cities interviewing visa holders it also suspects of concealing their ties to the Chinese military.

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