Nearly 100 members of Congress and watchdog groups are raising concerns about anti-Asian prejudice at the Justice Department.
Nearly 100 members of Congress appeals to the U.S. Attorney General to investigate the alleged racial profile of Asians of the Department of Justice.
“Racial profiling is illegal and detrimental to our democracy,” according to the letter, which Al Jazeera saw.
“Over the years, several people who happened to be of Asian descent have been falsely accused of espionage by the Justice Department,” the statement said.
Axios reported that the letter was delivered Thursday.
“The common thread in all these cases was an accused with an Asian surname – and an innocent life turned upside down,” the letter reads.
The letter also calls for ‘implicit prejudice’ for the agency.
The decision comes after the justice department decided last week to drop all charges against a Chinese researcher arrested last year for visa fraud in its ‘China Initiative’ aimed at preventing the transfer of US technology.
Tang Juan, a visiting researcher at the University of California Davis School of Medicine, was arrested in July last year for allegedly hiding her military affiliation.
In an application to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, prosecutors said they decide to dismiss the charge and evacuate the trial, but they give no reasons.
The move comes after the defense called for the case to be dismissed, based on recently revealed evidence from a report by FBI analysts questioning whether the visa application question on ‘military service’ was clear enough for Chinese medical scientists to military universities and hospitals.
At least five Chinese investigators were arrested last year over the issue and two are still in jail.
Civil liberties groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian Law Caucus, have expressed concern over the cases, saying it reflects prejudice against China.
Defense attorneys say the real crime of their clients is undermining U.S. and China politics.
The Justice Department launched the China initiative three years ago under former President Donald Trump to counter China’s threats to national security.
The move also comes after U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman visited China earlier this week.
Sherman, the second United States official, met with Secretary of State and Secretary of State Wang Yi and other officials.
The visit was intended to pave the way for further exchanges and a possible meeting between President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping later this year.
Before Tang is arrested, she seeks refuge at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco, following an FBI interrogation with her mother and daughter.
The judge in the case later ordered that the FBI interview be dropped as Tang did not read her Miranda rights, warning against self-incrimination.
The judge in the case of Song Chen, another Chinese researcher and visiting scholar at Stanford University, for the same reason ordered that FBI interrogations be dropped.
Last week, Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the US of arresting its citizens studying in the country “on the basis of fabricated charges, which violate the legal rights and interests of Chinese citizens”.