Stanford faculty denounce DOJ China Initiative, seek end to screening of Chinese researchers for spy threats

The 177 Stanford University faculty members signed the Sept. 8 letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland detailing how the program, which was created under former President Trump that investigates researchers in the United States has raised concerns about racial profiling and discouraged scholars from staying in or coming to the country.

The Justice Department in 2018 launched the China Initiative to combat what officials saw as a multi-pronged effort by Beijing to steal intellectual property and conduct foreign influence operations in the U.S. 

DOJ LAUNCHES INVESTIGATION INTO GEORGIA PRISONS OVER ALLEGED CIVIL RIGHTS VIOLATIONS

During the Trump administration, a particular area of emphasis was placed on American college campuses and research institutions, where dozens of academics working in the U.S. were charged in cases that often accused them of failing to disclose research grants they had received from universities in China. A persistent concern at the time was that talent recruitment programs linked to the Chinese government were enticing academics to steal research from American universities for Beijing’s economic benefit.

Attorney General Merrick Garland departs after speaking at the Justice Department in Washington, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

Attorney General Merrick Garland departs after speaking at the Justice Department in Washington, on Tuesday, June 15, 2021. (Win McNamee/Pool via AP)

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