A Chinese official accused the U.S. of monitoring and harassing Chinese students and researchers at American campuses amid an ongoing crackdown on Beijing’s influence at universities, the AP reported Monday.
“For some time, the U.S., with ideological prejudice, keeps monitoring, harassing and willfully detaining Chinese students and researchers, and making presumptions of guilt against Chinese researchers,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said according to the AP.
“The U.S. actions have seriously violated the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens and severely disrupted the normal cultural and personnel exchanges between China and the U.S., which amounts to outright political persecution,” he said.
The remarks come after multiple researchers and professors at American universities have been arrested on charges related to lying about ties with Chinese Communist Party-run institutions while also accepting U.S. federal grant funding. Most recently, Juan Tang, a researcher at the University of California, Davis, was charged with lying about ties to People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and has been held without bail since July 23. She faces charged of visa fraud.
Wang said China had no intention of helping Tang escape the U.S., which she was allegedly preparing to do after the lab she worked in closed due to the pandemic. He added that China urges the U.S. to “handle the case fairly in accordance with the law and ensure the safety and legitimate rights and interests” due to Tang.
Officials found photos of Tang in PLA uniform and reviewed articles that identified her military affiliation. Tang denied having served in the military, and investigators found more evidence of her military affiliation after later searching her home, court filings said according to ABC 7.
Wang also remarked on the U.S.’s recent sanctions on China’s Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps, a paramilitary group which operates much of the economy of Xinjiang and allegedly orchestrates the persecution of minorities. (RELATED: US Announces Sanctions On China’s Cultural Genocide Operation In Xinjiang)
The sanctions, he said, “seriously interfered in China’s internal affairs and violated the basic norms of international relations,” according to the AP.
Several other researchers and university professors have been charged with hiding their ties with the Chinese government in 2020 as part of the Justice Department’s effort to target attempts to steal intellectual property and threaten national security. Song Gun Zheng is among the most recent suspects to have been charged with using federal funding to carry out research and recruit talent for China. Zheng was arrested while trying to board a flight to China in May, and was an employee at the Ohio State University, among other universities.