U.S. arrests Chinese academic fugitive in California, accused of visa fraud

, Spencer Irvine, Leave a comment

The last remaining fugitive in a federal visa fraud case was arrested last week in San Francisco, California. Juan Tang, a former visiting researcher at University of California-Davis, was one of four Chinese nationals charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) with visa fraud and hiding ties to the Chinese military.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Tang was arrested after leaving the Chinese consulate to seek medical care. The FBI questioned her in June and later left for the Chinese consulate, where she remained for a month. She was unaware that she was charged with visa fraud until two weeks ago, the Bee reported. FBI agents informed consular officials that she had a warrant out for her arrest. Last week, she left in a consular vehicle, which the FBI tailed to a medical office. She was arrested by FBI agents after her appointment was over.

Federal authorities claimed that she lied on her visa application when she said she had no ties to the Chinese military and said that she was seeking to conduct cancer research for a year at UC-Davis. But the FBI accused Tang of being an active Chinese military servicemember and potentially spying on U.S. secrets. The government pointed to photographs of her in a military uniform, to which her lawyer said that she was a civilian and wore a uniform as a part of her studies at a military-affiliated university.

Three other Chinese nationals have been arrested in the case and are facing prison time for lying on a visa application.

This is one of several actions that the Trump administration has undertaken to counter Chinese influence. U.S. corporations and national security organizations have warned Americans for years about Chinese espionage and theft of American intellectual property and secrets related to technology and research. The Trump administration also waged a trade war against China over the same issue, while trying to gain more level trading terms for U.S. farmers and manufacturers.