Just the Wrong Amount of American

楼主 (北美华人网)
Sherry Chen, a hydrologist at the National Weather Service, sent publicly available info to an old classmate in China and referred that person to a colleague for further information. The colleague reported her as a potential spy, and she was arrested in October 2014. Charges were dropped in March 2015, but the National Weather Service has refused to give Chen her job back. Xiaoxing Xi, then chair of the Temple University physics department, was arrested in May 2015 for sending plans to a device used in semiconductor research, known as a “pocket heater,” to China. The plans were not of a pocket heater; investigators without the proper scientific background had mixed them up. The charges were dropped in September of last year. Other similar cases are on the way to trial. The espionage suspicions these days often center on corporate secrets, rather than government ones, but the course of the cases is familiar: sudden arrests and long investigations during which any minor slip-up—even forgetting a date during an interrogation, as happened to Sherry Chen—becomes a lie that proves the crime. In the months or years that it takes to exonerate a suspect, lives are ruined. George Koo, a business consultant and member of the influential Chinese American advocacy group the Committee of 100, described this to me as the government’s “first-move advantage,” one that distorts the justice process. Given the power, resources, and secrecy involved in espionage prosecutions, the burden of proof nearly always ends up with the defense.