SAN FRANCISCO—Chinese cell biology researcher Tang Juan is charged with visa fraud for lying on her visa application when asked if she had any affiliation to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA); the Chinese military. In a statement released Friday, July 24th, the US Justice Department states that Tang Juan has been arrested and has a scheduled appearance on July 27th.
Tang Juan was a researcher at UC Davis studying cancer treatments. Her work was being funded by a study-based exchange program affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education and Xijing Hospital. The FBI’s investigation led them to several articles and pictures of Tang Juan in military uniform. Evidence was present previously listing her employment “as an associate researcher at Air Force Military Medical University”. Tang Juan is considered active military personnel.
On June 20th, the FBI issued a search warrant and interviewed Ms. Juan. When questioned on her military connections, Tang Juan denied serving in the PLA. After reviewing the media seized from Tang Juan’s residence, the FBI uncovered that Tang is an active member of the Chinese Communist Party. Based on this evidence, the Chinese researcher was charged with visa fraud for denying being active military personnel. According to the FBI, Tang Juan took refuge in China’s San Francisco consulate to avoid prosecution.
John Demers, a national security official, stated that “this is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions”. In response to these accusations, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin said in a July 23rd press conference that the US “has been misrepresenting and smearing China’s military-civilian integration policy”. Wenbin declared that the US Justice Department’s allegations are a double standard centered on “a Cold War mentality the US still clings to” and their actions go against “the spirit of international cooperation”.