For Immediate Release
Nov. 16, 2015
For More Information, Contact:
Brett Schuster, Communications Manager
70+ Asian Pacific American, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Organizations Urge U.S. Attorney General to Investigate Possible Profiling of Asian American Scientists
“We firmly believe that otherwise innocent actions by Americans must not become suspicious simply because of the person’s ethnic surname or perceived national origin.”
WASHINGTON — The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans (NCAPA) and the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) are joined by 70 organizations in sending a letter today to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch seeking an independent investigation into what appears to be a trend of Asian American scientists being suspected of economic espionage, indicted and arrested, without the full support of the facts.
Science magazine has reported that in the past year alone, charges have been dropped against five Chinese-born scientists accused of crimes related to trade secrets theft or economic spying. The most recent cases of potential profiling involve U.S. citizens Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, chair of Temple University’s physics department, and Sherry Chen, a hydrologist and employee of the National Weather Service. All charges against both were dropped — but not before wreaking irreparable damage to their lives, careers, and reputations.
“We are deeply concerned at the prospect of anyone being targeted for their race, ethnicity, or national origin,” said NCAPA National Director Christopher Kang. “Two is a coincidence, and three is a trend. It is time for a full and independent investigation into the cases of Dr. Xi and Ms. Chen, so there is not even an appearance of profiling in cases moving forward.”
“We thank the more than 70 organizations in our growing coalition — from 16 NCAPA organizations and the NAACP to the ACLU and People For the American Way,” Kang continued. “This is not a Chinese American issue or an Asian American issue. It is an American issue — to preserve our fundamental values of fairness and due process and to protect our civil rights and civil liberties.”
“Americans across the country are very concerned that individuals appear to be targeted for investigations based on their perceived race, ethnicity, or national origin,” said NAPABA President Jin Y. Hwang. “Attorney General Lynch must lead a thorough and independent investigation to assure the American public that the protections afforded by the Constitution and enshrined in Department policy prohibiting profiling are being followed. The broad and diverse coalition of more than 70 civil rights and legal organizations calling for this investigation highlights the importance of a fair and unbiased legal system to our country.”
Dr. Xiaoxing Xi and Sherry Chen will join a Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) press conference Tuesday, Nov. 17, at 9:30 a.m. EST in the Capitol (H-137) with Representatives Judy Chu (CA-27) and Ted Lieu (CA-33).
Earlier this month in a letter led by Representatives Ted Lieu, Judy Chu and Keith Ellison, 42 members of Congress called upon Attorney General Lynch to lead the Department of Justice in an independent investigation.
Learn more in NCAPA’s one-pager on this issue.
The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) is the national association of Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students. NAPABA represents the interests of approximately 50,000 attorneys and approximately 75 national, state, and local Asian Pacific American bar associations. Its members include solo practitioners, large firm lawyers, corporate counsel, legal services and non-profit attorneys, and lawyers serving at all levels of government.
NAPABA continues to be a leader in addressing civil rights issues confronting Asian Pacific American communities. Through its national network of committees and affiliates, NAPABA provides a strong voice for increased diversity of the federal and state judiciaries, advocates for equal opportunity in the workplace, works to eliminate hate crimes and anti-immigrant sentiment, and promotes the professional development of people of color in the legal profession.