U.S. Crackdown on Chinese Scholars Over Intellectual Property Theft Sparks Fears of Racial Profiling

Xiaoxing Xi, chair of the Physics Department at Temple University, speaks alongside a photo of Sherry Chen (right), a U.S. federal government worker, about the dropped charges against them for spying for China, during a press conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2015. (Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Xiaoxing Xi, chair of the Physics Department at Temple University, speaks alongside a photo of Sherry Chen (right), a U.S. federal government worker, about the dropped charges against them for spying for China, during a press conference in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15, 2015. (Credit: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

With three patents and more than 300 research papers to his name, Xiaoxing Xi was the respected chairman of Temple University’s physics department.

That is until May 2015, when FBI agents burst into his home outside Philadelphia with guns drawn and accused him of being a spy. He was hauled away in handcuffs in front of his wife and young daughters, fingerprinted and strip-searched. He also was threatened with 80 years in prison and a $1-million fine.

Four months later, federal prosecutors dropped the charges after experts provided affidavits that the information Xi sent to scientists in China was widely known and publicly available on the internet. Federal authorities offered no apology, no explanation and no compensation — leaving Xi struggling to rebuild his shattered life.

Xi’s case, and several others like it, have sparked widespread fears that the federal government’s recent crackdown on China is leading to racial profiling of ethnic Chinese students and scholars. Xi was arrested during the Obama administration but pressure on China over trade, technology and security has intensified under President Trump, prompting federal officials to more aggressively police efforts to steal intellectual property and innovations.

Read the full story at LATimes.com.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.