US judge acquits Chinese national of fraud, exposing US initiative’s political manipulation
Published: Sep 10, 2021 05:26 PM
Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows the US Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

Photo taken on May 29, 2019 shows the US Department of Justice headquarters building in Washington, D.C., the United States. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)


Hu Anming, a Chinese national and a former associate professor at the University of Tennessee who was accused of hiding China ties, was acquitted by a US judge on Thursday, proving, Chinese experts say, that the US Justice Department's crackdown campaign against Chinese scientists under the so-called China Initiative is pure political manipulation. 

In a 52-page ruling, US District Judge Thomas Varlan acquitted Hu of all the charges, saying the rules governing research awards were confusing and prosecutors had provided no evidence that the professor intended to deceive the NASA, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

The judge said that "even viewing all the evidence in the light most favorable to the government, no rational jury could conclude that defendant acted with a scheme to defraud NASA," according to the report. 

The ruling only proves that Hu is completely innocent and the charges appear to be politically driven, Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Friday. 

Li also pointed out that no matter how hard the US government persecuted those scholars, there are conscientious voices and forces in American society. "Scholars facing injustice should continue to use the legal tool to fight political manipulation," Li said. 

Hu's case is the first ruling of all cases concerning US Justice Department's so-called China Initiative, which also included the notable case of MIT Chinese-American professor Chen Gang, who has been charged with wire fraud. 

The initiative, which began during the Trump administration, claimed to tackle economic espionage and secrets theft to protect "national security," has not only been opposed by China but also faces mounting criticism from the Asian American community in the US. 

More than 20 Asian-American groups in the US sent a joint letter to US President Joe Biden on August 19, urging the administration to pause the China Initiative. They stated that the initiative is intended to investigate and prosecute trade secret theft and economic espionage activities, but it actually subject Asian immigrants, particularly scientists of Chinese descent to "racial profiling, surveillance and wrongful prosecutions."

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs has described the so-called China Initiative as a pure witch-hunt. "The US government unfairly placed targets first, and carried out investigation accordingly... facts have proven that the initiative is in essence a tool for a handful anti-China politicians to abuse the concept of national security and go all out to contain and suppress China," foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said at a press conference in August.