Los Angeles (Aug. 10, 2016) – Recently the U.S. government has recklessly prosecuted American citizens, widely-labeling respected scientists such as Professor Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University as spies for China — only to have all charges dropped with no explanation, apology, or compensation.
This week, with the support of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Professor Xi of Temple University embarked on a tour of California to raise awareness of the “Scientists Not Spies” campaign, which seeks justice on behalf of Chinese American scientists who have been falsely accused. The campaign seeks an apology to the impacted individuals, and an independent investigation of the U.S. Department of Justice. In addition to speaking on Aug. 10 at Advancing Justice-LA in downtown Los Angeles and on Aug. 11 in Irvine, Professor Xi also spoke in San Francisco on Aug. 9.
“As Chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I commend Professor Xi’s bravery in sharing his story and helping to raise awareness of recent cases in which Chinese American scientists have been wrongfully suspected of espionage or targeted simply because of their race,” said Congresswoman Judy Chu (CA-27). “We need more and more people across America, in both the Asian American and the non-Asian communities everywhere, to understand what is happening and to speak out against injustice whenever it occurs.”
“Professor Xi’s visit is historic,” said Karin Wang, Vice-President of Programs and Communications at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles. “For the first time, we are bringing communities together to draw connections between the racial profiling of Chinese American scientists and experiences of other communities who have faced civil rights violations in the name of national security, such as Japanese Americans during World War II and Muslim American communities post-9/11.“
Professor Xi is sharing his story across the state also to rally support for the next phase of the “Scientists Not Spies” campaign. The campaign has launched an online petition calling for an apology and independent investigation with nearly 4,000 signatures, and the California tour kicks off an effort to add more signatures and public support. The petition will be delivered this fall to the current administration, and civil rights advocates are now working with members of Congress to organize actions to come.
“We hope that this tour across California will help share Professor Xi’s story and lay the groundwork for broad-based support for the Scientists Not Spies effort,” said Joyce Xi, the daughter of Professor Xi and the program coordinator at Asian Americans Advancing Justice-ALC in San Francisco who is leading the campaign. “For any campaign for justice to succeed, communities must build bridges with others who share common struggles. Emailing while Asian now joins flying while Muslim and driving while black or brown as everyday activities that have become fraught with risk for people of particular backgrounds.”
“America is the greatest nation on Earth. The American story, however, does contain stumbles and blind spots. There has been an unfortunate narrative of discrimination against Asian Americans in our nation’s history: the Chinese Exclusion Act, Alien Land Laws, the World War II internment of over 100,000 Americans of Japanese descent – just to name a few. Recently, a number of Asian-Americans have been erroneously arrested and indicted for alleged spying. All these charges were ultimately dropped,” said Congressman Ted Lieu (CA-33). “When the AAPI community flourishes, America flourishes. AAPI discrimination stands in the way of our nation’s progress. I look forward to continuing to work with Asian American Advancing Justice to raise awareness of discrimination against the AAPI community and to help forge solutions to prevent discrimination going forward.”
More information on the campaign is at scientistsnotspies.org including the online petition.
Also, Advancing Justice has a “Know Your Rights” document for anyone who believes they are at risk of being targeted by law enforcement for their academic work or their connections to China. The document can be found here: Know Your Rights.
Asian Americans Advancing Justice-Los Angeles (Advancing Justice-LA) is the nation’s largest legal and civil rights organization for Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders (NHPI). Through direct services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, leadership development, and capacity building, Advancing Justice-LA focuses on the most vulnerable members of Asian American and NHPI communities while also building a strong voice for civil rights and social justice.