May 2, 2018
Sherry Chen Vindicated, Community Resolved to Further Resist
San Francisco, CA--- The End National Security Scapegoating (ENSS) coalition applauds the decision by Chief Administrative Judge Schroeder of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), ordering the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) to reinstate Ms. Sherry Chen’s employment at the National Weather Service. This ruling comes two years after Ms. Chen was wrongfully terminated as a result of being accused of espionage by the Department of Justice.
Ms. Chen’s life was irreversibly disrupted, as she had to withstand extraordinarily difficult times due to being falsely accused in 2014. Judge Schroeder’s decision confirms racial bias and systemic injustice that permeated investigative reports produced by DOC’s criminal investigators. At this point, compensation and a public apology are required from both the Department of Justice and the Department of Commerce for their reckless and harmful actions that resulted in what Judge Schroeder has described as a “gross injustice”.
“Like others before her who have faced racial discrimination and false accusations, Ms. Chen has endured tremendous hardship and suffering as a result of racial profiling and national security scapegoating. Judge Schroeder’s 's ruling should be understood as a vindication for her as well as the community. Ms. Chen deserves a public apology and financial compensation for her suffering,” states Cynthia Choi, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action.
Ms. Chen’s case is one in a long history of Chinese Americans and others being falsely accused as spies, and used as national security scapegoats. Other cases include wrongful accusations and prosecutions against Wen Ho Lee of the Los Alamos Laboratory and Professor Xiaoxing Xi to Temple University. Judge Schroeder’s ruling signals that discrimination based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion has no place in our democracy. Ms. Chen’s victory will reverberate throughout other marginalized communities, as ENSS continues to call for the end of all forms of racial profiling in the name of national security including the current travel ban to restrict travelers from Muslim majority countries.
“I am so happy for Sherry that, after facing much injustice and hardship, she has prevailed in her case. The wrongful prosecution and state repression that Sherry and others have had to suffer must stop. I admire Sherry’s persistence as well as all the community support around her case”, says Joyce Xi, daughter of Professor Xi.
We congratulate and commend Ms. Chen for her perseverance and courage, and for standing up for her rights against racial profiling and national security scapegoating.
March 20, 2018
FBI Director Testimony Reveals and Perpetuates Racial Profiling of Chinese Americans
On February 13, 2018, FBI Director Christopher Wray provided testimony to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee at a hearing titled, “Hearing on Worldwide Threats.” In his prepared and delivered remarks, Mr. Wray revealed and perpetuated a longstanding problem of racial bias and racial profiling within the U.S. national security apparatus against people of Chinese descent.
By labeling China as a “whole of society threat” requiring a “whole of society response”, naming Chinese “professor[s], scientists [and] students” as widespread, “non-traditional collectors” of intelligence without evidence and ignoring several high-profile incidents of wrongful arrests against Chinese American scientists, Mr. Wray confirmed the deep xenophobic roots of the ongoing scapegoating of the Chinese American academic community. Under the pretext of national security, the FBI has continued to rationalize the increased surveillance and erosion of civil rights of all American residents.
“FBI Director Christopher Wray’s view is very much in line with the long held view and legacy of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who considered all Chinese in the U.S. as potential spies of China and a threat to the internal security of the U.S. throughout the Cold War… "
In recent years, the U.S. Department of Justice has intensified efforts to criminalize and prosecute Chinese American individuals for espionage related crimes. In separate cases, Guoqing Cao, Shuyu Li, Sherry Chen, and Xiaoxing Xi were each wrongly arrested, and had their lives, and those of their families, painfully upended only to have all the charges against them dropped without explanation, apology, or redress. Almost 20 years ago, Wen Ho Lee, a Taiwanese American scientist, was also falsely accused of espionage, placed in solitary confinement for nine months, and upon his release from imprisonment, received an apology from the federal judge. In fact, racial profiling of Chinese Americans by the FBI dates back to the advent of the Cold War. For example, in the 1950s, Qian Xuesen, professor at Caltech and a founding director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, was falsely accused by the U.S. government of being a communist. As a result, he was detained and placed under house arrest for five years, and eventually released and deported to China
Today, Chinese nationals make up over 30% of the estimated 1 million international students enrolled in American universities. Painting all Chinese students as a potential security threats reflects a current pattern and practice of racially profiling members of the Chinese community. This should be a concern to all Americans who value constitutionally mandated rights to due process and equal protection.
"Whether levied against Chinese students and academics, Muslims trying to travel, or Black lives, racial profiling is wrong and unacceptable and must be combated in all its forms.”
Ling-Chi Wang, Professor Emeritus of Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley states, “FBI Director Christopher Wray’s view is very much in line with the long held view and legacy of former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover who considered all Chinese in the U.S. as potential spies of China and a threat to the internal security of the U.S. throughout the Cold War… As a result, the rights of thousands of Chinese in the U.S., citizens, permanent residents, foreign students, and visitors, were routinely violated and many were unjustly subjected to persecution, prosecution, denaturalization, and deportation. Effectively, being Chinese in the U.S. became synonymous with espionage and treason. Outrageously, this legacy remains alive and well under Director Wray’s leadership in his view and treatment of all Chinese in the U.S.”
From Vincent Pan, Co-Executive Director of Chinese for Affirmative Action: “What Wray said is a textbook example of national security scapegoating -- how it starts and how it is perpetuated. Whether levied against Chinese students and academics, Muslims trying to travel, or Black lives, racial profiling is wrong and unacceptable and must be combated in all its forms.”
Repeatedly, from the Chinese Exclusion Act to Japanese internment to the contemporary Muslim ban, these sentiments virulently galvanize state-sponsored violence based on race and national origin.
The End National Security Coalition is comprised of community members and organizations who believe it is imperative to end the profiling of Asian Americans as national security threats and are committed to working towards a society free of racial discrimination and profiling against any people. ENSS aims to preserve a multiracial democracy by combating racially discriminatory policies and practices instituted under the pretext of national security or safety. Through large-scale community education that elucidates the linkages between historical exclusion to modern day racial profiling, ENSS is dedicated to ensure that communities of color are united to safeguard and advance social justice.
On March 21st, FBI Director Wray reasserted his claim that Chinese nationals including students, scientists and professors. “But when we open investigations into economic espionage, time and time again, they keep leading back to China,” remarked Wray during an interview with NBC News. Read more here.