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Factbox-Five Chinese scientists face U.S. visa fraud charges

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By Reuters
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By Jane Lanhee Lee

– The United States Department of Justice in late 2018 launched the “China Initiative” to stem the theft of trade secrets by Chinese entities and keep technology developed at U.S. universities secure.

Among those prosecuted were five Chinese scientists at U.S. universities who were charged with visa fraud for allegedly concealing their military affiliations. Four of them face additional charges. All have pleaded not guilty.  

Wang Xin is a postdoctoral researcher who worked on projects related to metabolism and obesity at the University of California, San Francisco. He was arrested on June 7, 2020 and charged with visa fraud. Wang remains in a jail in Northern California. No trial date has been set.

Song Chen is a neurologist and was a visiting researcher at Stanford University. She was arrested on July 18, 2020, and released on bail three days later. She is charged with visa fraud and several obstruction counts including giving false statements to a government agency. Her trial has been postponed while lawyers battle over what evidence can be admitted.

Zhao Kaikai is a PhD student at Indiana University Bloomington studying machine learning and artificial intelligence. He was arrested July on 18, 2020 and is charged with visa fraud and making a false statement. Zhao remains in jail. His trial is set for Oct. 4, 2021.

Guan Lei is a PhD student at the National University of Defense Technology in Changsha, China, and was a visiting scholar studying computational optimization at the University of California, Los Angeles. He was arrested on Aug. 27, 2020 and released on bail last month. Guan faces a number of charges including visa fraud, making false statements and destruction and alteration of records in a federal investigation. His trial is set for Aug. 31, 2021.

Tang Juan was a visiting researcher working on radiation oncology at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. She was arrested on July 23, 2020 and released on bail about seven weeks later. She is charged with visa fraud and making false statements. Her trial is set for July 26, 2021.

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