SAN FRANCISCO─Chen Song, a Chinese researcher at Stanford University, was charged with visa fraud and accused of lying about her identity as a member of the People’s Libertarian Army (PLA), the armed forces of China. The FBI assessment was filed on Monday, July 20.
Song received a J-1 visa to enter the United States in November 2018 by claiming her purpose of conducting neurological research at Stanford University. She also claimed that her military service ended in 2011 when the background check showed that she has graduated from the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU), which is subordinate to the Air Force component of the PLA. Song entered the United States on December 23, 2018.
The FBI identified evidence including photos of Song in the military uniform, and publications in which she described her institutional affiliation as FMMU or PLA Air Force General Hospital. In addition, a letter found in a Chinese tilted folder, which has been recovered from the FBI, also shows her seeking authorization from the PLA Air Force and FMMU to stay in the United States.
Song admitted to the FBI that she booked multiple one-way flight tickets and considered to return to China with her daughter, despite she has just renewed her tenure at Stanford University.
“Defendant’s case is not an isolated one, but instead appears to be part of a program conducted by the PLA–and specifically, FMMU or associated institutions–to send military scientists to the United States on false pretenses with false covers or false statements about their true employment,” stated the court document. “There exists evidence in at least one of these cases of a military scientist copying or stealing information from American institutions at the direction of military superiors in China.”