December 16, 2015

Honorable Loretta E. Lynch Attorney General
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20530

Dear Attorney General Lynch:
We, the Association of Chinese American Professors and Scientists at the University of Maryland (ACAPS), are writing to express our serious concerns over the recent wrongfully indicted espionage cases involving two Chinese-American scientists, Dr. Sherry Chen of National Weather Service and Dr. Xiaoxing Xi of Temple University. We request that the Department of Justice authorize an independent investigation to find out why simple fact finding and fact checking were not carried out before Dr. Chen and Dr. Xi were arrested, and whether race, ethnicity o r national origin played a part in these cases.

Dr. Chen and Dr. Xi's cases are only two of the many cases that have occurred in recent years involving Chinese-American scientists falsely charged as "spies" for China. There appears to be a pattern and practice of singling out Chinese-Americans by federal law enforcement and prosecutors in the name of fighting against espionage. We are very concerned that espionage threats from foreign nations are creating a climate in which both investigators and prosecutors are rushing into indictments against innocent Chinese-American scientists, calling into question civil rights protections.

If this pattern continues, it is going to create not only a chilling effect on Chinese-American lives but also a negative impact on this nation's science and engineering research communities including University of Maryland. Although Chinese-Americans make up for a small portion of the US population, they account for a large percentage of scientists and engineers across major research universities, national labs, and other research institutions. In early 2000, because of the injustice Dr. Wenho Lee, a Chinese-American scientist at the Los Alamos National Lab, suffered in the hands of the government (a very similar case as Chen and Xi's), a national boycott of the national labs was called, urging Asian American scientists to stop applying for jobs at the national labs. Consequently, new applicants to the national labs dropped off significantly and many Asian-American senior staff left for non-government sector or took early retirement. We are certain that if the current practice of unlawfully targeting Chinese-American professors and scientists continues, many Chinese- and other Asian-Americans will avoid working in technical areas that are vital to the success of this country's civilian and military industries, which will surely undermine this country's competitiveness in the long run.
We, therefore, reiterate the request for a full investigation by the DOJ into the cases of Dr. Chen, Dr. Xi, and other similar cases regarding whether race or ethnicity played a role.



PS: ACAPS is a nonprofit, nonpolitical, and nonreligious organization at the University of Maryland for UMD faculty, scientists, and staff of Chinese heritage. ACAPS helps members of our community connect with, learn from, and support each other in order to better our research, work, and life at UMD.
PS: The opinions expressed in this letter are solely of ACAPS, and do not reflect in any way the position of University of Maryland.

PS: Please send any correspondence related to this letter to the ACAPS Spokesperson, Dr. Zhi-Long Chen, Robert H. Smith School of Business, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742; Email:

President Barak Obama
Congressman Andy Harris (Maryland, 1 st District) nd Congressman A. Dutch Ruppersberger (Maryland, 2 Congressman John Sarbanes (Maryland, 3rd District) Congresswoman Donna Edwards (Maryland, 4 th District) Congressman Steny Hoyer (Maryland, 5 th District) Congressman John Delaney (Maryland, 6 th District) Congressman Elijah Cummings (Maryland, 7 th District) Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Jr. (Maryland, 8 th District) Senator Barbara Mikulski (Maryland)
Senator Benjamin Cardin (Maryland)