A group of Stanford professors have come together to urge the Justice Department to stop looking for Chinese spies at U.S. universities, a September 8 letter from the group reads.

Arguing that such programs cause “racial profiling”, the  professors claim the “China Initiative”, which was set up to prevent U.S. technology theft, is “harming the United States’ research and technology competitiveness and “is fueling biases”, Reuters reported.

The Justice Department brought 27 cases as a result of the initiative. While some have been dropped, others are ongoing. Peter Michelson, Stanford’s senior associate dean for the natural sciences told Reuters: “I think what the FBI’s done in most cases is to scare people – investigating people and interrogating them. And it’s harmful to the country.”

What country, Peter?

177 faculty members signed the letter, which was posted on a site they called “Winds of Freedom”. 

“We, a group of 177 Stanford faculty members from more than 40 departments, have sent the following open letter to the U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland, requesting that he terminates the Department of Justice’s China Initiative. The China Initiative was introduced by then Attorney General Jeff Sessions in 2018, with the objective of combating economic espionage, intellectual property theft and other threats associated with the government of China,” the site reads.

It continues: “However, we believe the China Initiative raises concerns of racial profiling and is harming the United States’ research and technology competitiveness. This initiative has led to a significant increase of investigations and prosecutions to researchers in academia, with most cases unrelated to intellectual property theft or scientific/economic espionage. The investigations have been disproportionately targeting researchers of Chinese origin. The chilling effect of the China Initiative is discouraging many scholars from coming to or staying in the U.S. We believe that the China Initiative should be terminated.”

You can read the full letter here:

 



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