China 'Hiding' Military-Linked Fugitive Researcher at San Francisco Consulate, FBI Claims

The State Department of the US ordered China to close down a consulate in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday

The FBI alleged that a researcher who is working on biology had lied about her relationship with the Chinese military for receiving a US visa, avoided her arrest by taking refuge at the Chinese consulate of San Francisco.

As per the court filings, Tang Juan was given a non-immigrant visa last fall for conducting research at the University of California, Davis. But after the FBI agents found photos off her wearing military uniform on the internet, they went and interviewed her on June 20 about the visa application. She claimed that she had never served in the military and was not a member of the Communist Party, according to the filings, as reported by CNBC.

After her encounter with the FBI, Tang went to the San Francisco consulate, where she is still staying, the FBI alleges. The government got federal charges against the researcher for visa fraud on June 26.

Chinese Fugitive Researcher Hiding in San Francisco Consulate: FBI

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US China flags Reuters

"The FBI assesses that, at some point following the search and interview of Tang on June 20, 2020, Tang went to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, where the FBI assesses she has remained," U.S. attorneys wrote in a court filing on July 20.

The filings come at a time when there is a rise in tension between the US and China, with increased scrutiny on probable economic espionage by the Chinese people working in the US.

The State Department of the US ordered China to shut down a consulate in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday. The officials mentioned that the move was made for protecting American intellectual property and private information. According to local media reports, people at the Chinese consulate were seen burning down papers.

The Justice Department on Tuesday claimed that two Chinese citizens tried to steal trade secrets by hacking into the firms that are working on a vaccine for coronavirus or COVID-19. The US has also attempted to hamper Huawei Technologies citing fears regarding the security of the common Americans.