Chi­nese re­searcher charged with U.S. visa fraud is in cus­tody

Miami Herald (Sunday) - - FROM THE FRONT PAGE - BY JANIE HAR As­so­ci­ated Press

A Chi­nese re­searcher ac­cused of con­ceal­ing her ties to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary on a visa ap­pli­ca­tion she sub­mit­ted so she could work in the U.S. was booked Friday into a North­ern Cal­i­for­nia jail and was ex­pected to ap­pear in fed­eral court Mon­day.

Sacramento County jail records show Juan Tang,

37, was be­ing held on be­half of fed­eral au­thor­i­ties after she was ar­rested by the U.S. Mar­shals Ser­vice. It was un­clear if she had an at­tor­ney who could com­ment on her be­half.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment on Thurs­day an­nounced charges against Tang and three other sci­en­tists liv­ing in the U.S., say­ing they lied about their sta­tus as mem­bers of China’s Peo­ple’s Lib­er­a­tion Army. All were charged with visa fraud.

Tang was the last of the four to be ar­rested, after the jus­tice depart­ment ac­cused the Chi­nese con­sulate in San Fran­cisco of har­bor­ing a known fugi­tive. The con­sulate did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to email and Face­book mes­sages seek­ing com­ment and it was not pos­si­ble to leave a tele­phone mes­sage.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment said Tang lied about her mil­i­tary ties in a visa ap­pli­ca­tion last Oc­to­ber as she made plans to work at the Univer­sity of Cal­i­for­nia, Davis and again dur­ing an FBI in­ter­view months later. Agents found pho­tos of Tang dressed in mil­i­tary uni­form and re­viewed ar­ti­cles in China iden­ti­fy­ing her mil­i­tary af­fil­i­a­tion.

UC Davis said Tang left her job as a vis­it­ing re­searcher in the Depart­ment of Ra­di­a­tion On­col­ogy in June. Her work was funded by a study-based ex­change pro­gram af­fil­i­ated with China’s Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion, the univer­sity said in a state­ment.

Agents have said they be­lieve Tang sought refuge at the con­sulate after they in­ter­viewed her at her home in Davis on June 20. The FBI has been in­ter­view­ing visa hold­ers in more than 25 Amer­i­can cities sus­pected of hid­ing their ties to the Chi­nese mil­i­tary.

The al­le­ga­tions came as U.S.-China re­la­tions con­tin­ued to de­te­ri­o­rate, par­tic­u­larly over al­le­ga­tions of Chi­nese theft of U.S. in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty.

China’s con­sulate in Hous­ton was sched­uled to shut down Friday on or­der of U.S. au­thor­i­ties after Wash­ing­ton ac­cused Chi­nese agents of try­ing to steal med­i­cal and other re­search in Texas.

“We can con­firm that the PRC Con­sulate Gen­eral in Hous­ton is closed,” a State Depart­ment spokesper­son con­firmed late Friday. The spokesper­son spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they weren’t au­tho­rized to com­ment pub­licly.

In re­sponse, China on Friday or­dered the U.S. to close its con­sulate in the city of Chengdu.

AP

The Jus­tice Depart­ment says Juan Tang lied about her mil­i­tary af­fil­i­a­tion in a visa ap­pli­ca­tion last Oc­to­ber.

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