U.S. Drops Case Against Chinese National, China Accuses U.S. of False Arrest

Prosecutors in the U.S. filed documents to have a case against a Chinese national dropped, as China accused the U.S. of a false arrest, the Associated Press reported.

Prosecutors said Juan Tang—who was making plans to work at the University of California, Davis—lied on her visa about her ties to the Chinese military as well as neglecting to mention it in an interview with the FBI. Agents found photos of Tang dressed in a military uniform and saw articles in China identifying her military affiliation.

In Beijing on Friday, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of arresting Chinese citizens studying in America "under fabricated charges, violating legitimate rights and interest of Chinese nationals."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

US Drops Chinese National Case
Chinese national Juan Tang made plans to work at a lab at the University of California, Davis, but the labs were shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now U.S. prosecutors are seeking to drop their case against her. Getty Images

"We again urge the U.S. to...immediately release the person involved and earnestly guarantee the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese nationals in the U.S.," Zhao said at a daily briefing.

In documents filed in federal court in Sacramento, prosecutors asked a judge to dismiss a charge of visa fraud against Tang but gave no reason why.

The trial was set to begin on Monday. A message seeking comment from the U.S. Attorney's office in Sacramento was not returned.

Tang's attorneys told the Sacramento Bee they provided "ample reason" to the government for dismissing the case.

"We hope Dr. Tang is allowed to return to her daughter and husband on her own," Malcolm Segal and Tom Johnson said in a statement.

The Justice Department announced charges against Tang and three other scientists living in the U.S. last July, saying they lied about their status as members of China's People's Liberation Army.

Agents said they believe Tang sought refuge at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco after they interviewed her at her home in Davis, and they accused the consulate of harboring a known fugitive. She was taken into custody after emerging from the consulate for a doctor's appointment, the Bee reported.

Tang's attorneys had argued that the doctor was not a member of the Chinese military but had worked as a civilian at a Chinese military facility. They said the charge of lying on her visa application likely would have resulted in a six-month sentence, less than the 10 months she has already spent in jail and under house arrest.

U.S. District Judge John A. Mendez previously dismissed a separate count charging Tang with lying to the FBI because agents violated her Miranda rights by not advising her that she did not have to answer their questions.

Tang never was able to begin her cancer research at UC Davis because the coronavirus pandemic shut down the lab where she was to work.