Rep. Ed Case, D-HI, successfully added an amendment to a bill to address concerns of stereotyping, targeting and racial profiling of Chinese Americans.
“While there is no doubt that we must take national security threats from foreign countries seriously, we must reject the flawed narrative that simply being of Chinese descent is grounds for suspicion,” said Rep. Judy Chu, D-CA, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus. “Such overly broad stereotyping, targeting and racial profiling is dangerous and runs contrary to the values of our nation.
The amendment to H.R. 3494, the Damon Paul Nelson and Matthew Young Pollard Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020, would require the Director of National Intelligence to submit a report to Congress on how current intelligence policies, procedures, and practices targeting the People’s Republic of China may also impact the privacy and civil liberties of Chinese Americans.
The House passed the bill July 17 with bipartisan support, 397-31.
“Unfortunately, we have seen how certain actions by our government directed at Chinese nationals have impacted U.S. citizens.,” continued Chu.
“We need to look no further than the examples of Sherry Chen and Dr. Xioaxing Xi, two Chinese American scientists who were wrongfully accused of espionage by the FBI only to have their charges dropped with no explanation. We must ensure that what happened to these two innocent Americans does not happen to other U.S. citizens simply because of the way they look. There must be no room for racial prejudice and ethnic targeting in our country’s laws and practices.”
While acknowledging the very real efforts of China to steal industrial secrets and academic research, Case said, “In these recent years of justifiably heightened scrutiny on the intelligence activities of the People’s Republic of China, a disproportionate number of Americans of Chinese descent have been investigated and prosecuted for espionage. Those convicted have received disproportionately high sentences and the too many exonerated have had their careers ruined nonetheless.
“No doubt China seeks to recruit Chinese Americans to its goals, and no doubt our government should and must review specific cases of potential espionage by China on specific facts. But have we fallen into the same trap all over again of justifying investigations and other actions toward the end of national security by the means of general profiling and targeting based solely on ethnic identity?” asked Case.
“This amendment is a flashing red light to our intelligence community: stop, look and listen. Take some time to think it through, to be sure you’re staying on the right side of that line, and then report back to Congress that you have done so and have the procedures and mindset in place to assure that we won’t repeat history, with Chinese Americans or any other broad ethnic or interest group,” Case said.
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