The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Thursday and Friday dropped charges against five different researchers from China who were accused of hiding their alleged ties to Chinese government and military.
Prosecutors decided that the cases were no longer worth pursuing after judges had dismissed parts of the various cases pending against Tang Juan, who was supposed to have her trial start on the following Monday.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the judges found that the FBI failed to inform the researchers of their Fifth Amendment rights before interviewing them.
The WSJ reported, "In brief court filings late Thursday and Friday, prosecutors said they would no longer pursue visa fraud and other charges against the scientists, including biomedical and cancer researchers in California and a doctoral candidate studying artificial intelligence in Indiana."
Tang Juan was charged along with Chen Song, Guan Lei and Zhao Kaikai and another individual who is unnamed at this time. The Chinese researchers were working in the areas of neurology and artificial intelligence.
Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for the DOJ, released the following statement:
"In all of our prosecutions, the Department of Justice evaluates the merits of a case as it prepares for trial. Recent developments in a handful of cases involving defendants with alleged, undisclosed ties to the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China have prompted the Department to re-evaluate these prosecutions, and we have determined that it is now in the interest of justice to dismiss them."
"The Department continues to place a very high priority on countering the threat posed to American research security and academic integrity by the PRC government’s agenda and policies,"