Sacramento, CA – A group of national organizations urged the case against Dr. Anming Hu be dropped after his trial ended in a mistrial this week. Hu is the first-ever professor tried under the Justice Department’s “China Initiative,” a Trump-era program, which targeted China’s economic espionage.
The Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) has joined other Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) organizations including Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC (Advancing Justice | AAJC), in urging the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee to drop the case.
Previously, APAPA and other AAPI and civil rights organizations sent a letter to the Biden administration, to end the China initiative and take further steps to combat the racial bias and targeting of Asian American and Asian immigrant scientists, researchers, and students by the federal government.
In addition, three members of the House Judiciary Committee, including Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) called on the Justice Department’s Inspector General to open a formal review of Hu’s case, saying they were “deeply troubled” by the FBI’s treatment of him, according to a letter obtained by The Washington Post.
Critics of the initiative claimed the case against Hu, a University of Tennessee engineering professor, was rooted in racial bias, and that he was being investigated based on his connection to China, rather than on any evidence of espionage.
“If the administration and the Justice Department are truly concerned about espionage, this case does not appear to be it,” said John C. Yang, executive director of Advancing Justice | AAJC. “That is our deeper concern about the China Initiative and these efforts — they are not effective in addressing espionage and have clearly resulted in damage to the scientific community.”
Hu faced non-espionage charges of federal wire fraud and making false statements. He was accused of violating a NASA restriction by failing to declare his part-time work at a Chinese university when his university applied for a U.S. grant.
Jurors deadlocked and failed to reach a verdict on Wednesday. Prosecutors have not said if they plan to retry Hu.
APAPA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and grassroots organization. Its mission is to empower Asian and Pacific Islander (API) Americans through education, leadership, and active participation in civic and public affairs.