ACLU joins suit by Chinese scientist vs. US
One of America’s best known civil rights organizations has joined a lawsuit filed by a Chinese-American professor who is suing the US government over its dismissed prosecution of him for allegedly sharing sensitive technology with scientists in China.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP filed an amended complaint on Tuesday in federal District Court in Philadelphia to the lawsuit filed by Temple University professor Xi Xiaoxing.
The complaint challenges the government’s arrest and surveillance methods as well as its alleged discriminatory targeting of Chinese-American scientists like Xi.
“Having the ACLU involvement is quite useful and especially on the electronic surveillance claims,” wrote David Rudovsky, Xi’s attorney, in an email.
Xi’s lawsuit was filed earlier this year claimed that an FBI agent involved falsified evidence and ignored warnings that he was innocent. In May 2015, FBI agents went into Xi’s house with guns drawn and led him away in handcuffs in front of his wife and daughters. The government accused Xi of sharing information about a superconductor device known as a “pocket heater,” relying on email exchanges between Xi and scientific colleagues in China.
Later in 2015, the charges against Xi were dropped upon the prosecution’s discovery that the emails he sent to China were unrelated to the pocket heater and were part of ordinary academic collaboration.
As a result of the charges, Xi was placed on administrative leave, suspended from his position as the interim chair of the Temple physics department, denied access to his lab and the graduate students working under his supervision, and had to pay substantial legal fees to defend himself.
The ACLU said Xi’s case was one of three espionagerelated prosecutions of Chinese-American scientists in a 10-month period in which the government abandoned the case before trial. The others include the dismissal of charges against Sherry Chen, a hydrologist with the US National Weather Service in Ohio in 2015, and Guoqing Cao and Shuyu Li, senior biologists at Eli Lilly & Co in 2014.
People gather in Foley Square during a vigil for the victims of the West Side Highway pickup truck attack in New York on Wednesday.