The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
935 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20535
Dear Director Wray:
Greetings. I studied your record as a public servant
recently, and pleasantly realized that you are a person of integrity and noble intentions. Hence, I hope this letter will reach you. Let's reason together.
Your advocacy to apply a
"whole-of-society approach (WOSA)" to stop spying by students and scholars of Chinese origin was necessitated by and ironically inspired
by the success of the spying operation from China. To wit, your
Senate Statement on 2/15/18. "....
the China threat as not just a whole-of-government threat but a whole-of-society threat on their end, and I think it's going to take a whole-of-society response by us."
Please ponder for a minute. Will using the Chinese
methodology to deal with an American challenge be appropriate and/or effective?
There are only 2 precedents of WOSA in peacetime in modern human history. Both occurred in totalitarian China under Chairman Mao. They were "The Great Leap Forward" from 1958 to 1962, and the "Cultural revolution" from 1966 to 1976. Both brought disasters for China. There is no equivalent WOSA in peacetime in the U.S.. The closest approximation was the "Red Scare" in the
cold war. While there were legitimate concerns over communist infiltration, that period was remembered in our history as the McCarthy Era, which included the surveillance of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, thousands of people
unfairly losing their jobs, and "blacklists" in Hollywood. Do you wish to be remembered for starting a similar period in the 21st Century?
Retrospectively, the cause of these disasters in China is clear. In the 1
st case, government empowered individuals who knew nothing about making steel to help make steel. In the 2
nd case, government empowered individuals who knew little of Chinese culture to form a new Chinese culture.
Director Wray, are you asking our 300 million compatriots who know
nothing about catching spies to be on the look out for Chinese spies? Will the civil rights of Chinese Americans (ChAms) be trampled? Will scientists of Chinese origin be targeted by untrained individuals? Will unfair accusations befall ChAms, scientists or not, owing to professional rivalry and personal grudges, because the power relations are stacked against us by your WOSA?
Some evidence of the defects of your WOSA are already showing up:
[A] Sending Gifts - our Top Scientists - to China:
Top scientists are like free agents. When wronged, they could choose to leave for warmer climates.
Your WOSA has apparently been more successful than China's many recruiting programs in getting our top scientists to move to China
. They are:
1) & 2) Drs.
Li Xiaojiang and
Li Shihua who did
break-through research on
Huntington's disease through genetic engineering;
who is one of the foremost experts in the world on ocean-
atmosphere interaction, climate change, & hurricanes
Director of the Center for Public Health
and Translational Genomics, Betty B. Marcus Chair in Cancer, MD
Anderson Cancer Center.
[B] Helping China Stop Its Brain Drain:
China has issued warnings to its students and academics of the risks of studying
limits on the duration of visas and visa refusals.
are likely ineffective until the discriminatory practices urged on by your WOSA hit the ChAm community. Examples of discriminatory practices incited by your WOSA include:
Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance
" accusing almost all ChAm organizations headquartered in Chinatowns as acting to adversely affect the U.S. interest. That report was met with the unanimous disapproval of the ChAm community.
ii) A patriotic US visa officer in China almost single-handedly lost a unique
graduate student for MIT, who was voted by the prestigious journal
Using "whole-of-society" as a slogan to dramatize the enormous task you faced in your
senate testimony on 2/15/19 was understandable. But retrospectively, you must realize WOSA is a totalitarian idea. When you doubled down on your "whole-of-society" idea on 4/29/19, I was aghast. To wit, you told our nation's top academic officers on 4/29/19
We've got to share as much information as we can with you, as quickly as we can, through as many channels as we can
. We've also got to create mechanisms for you to share information with us."
When the above and other components of your WOSA are executed, it'll make all ChAms feel like 3rd-class citizens living in a totalitarian society - watched over by colleagues, neighbors, friends and perhaps even relatives.
Do you want that? Is that what America has come to?
To protect national secrets, rules should be tightened and the enforcement should be targeted towards wrongdoers. They should rely on
trained law enforce-ment and not
amateur spycatchers. The former will lead to real wrongdoing being caught. The latter will lead to profiling, prejudice and abuse. New rules should be well-publicized and there should be a grace period for people to adjust.
Hopefully, I'll get your feedback within 3 weeks. Without any feedback from you to check my internal compass, I'll be compelled to find other ways to express my deep concerns to our nation's top political leaders. I got to know some of them when I was the Lt. Governor of Delaware (1985-89)
and as the President of 80-20 Educational Foundation, which is by far our nation's largest Asian Am. political organization. 80-20 has a huge email list, a non-trivial war chest, a steely determination to protect AsAm rights and to do our small part to help make America a "more perfect Union." Looking forward to hearing from you,