Chinese University Alumni Association Alliance of Southern California (CUAAASC) Official Statement
March 19, 2018
In recent remarks to the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, FBI Director Christopher Wray opined that Chinese academics or “nontraditional collectors” — “professors, scientists, students” studying and working in the United States in “basically every discipline” — may be covertly gathering intelligence for the Chinese government. The Chinese American communities across the nation were shocked by this disturbing and prejudicial statement. To target a whole group of people as being subject to greater suspicion, based purely on race and national origin, and in advance of any facts or evidence, goes against the fundamental American ideals of the presumption of innocence, due process and equal protection for all. It also fans the flames of hysteria.
CUAAASC consists of 49 Alumni associations and more than ten thousand members. Most of our members are current or past scholars and students in this country. Our organization is unequivocally committed to America’s national security and recognizes the importance of ensuring our nation is able to counteract perils from espionage. However, we supports fair and appropriate investigation, prosecution, and punishment of espionage that is based on the evidence and not on profiling or suspicion based on race, ethnicity, or national origin. Within the last two decades, we have seen this rush-to-judgment in the cases of Dr. Wen Ho Lee, Dr. Xiaoxing Xi, and Ms. Sherry Chen — all Chinese American scientists or federal employees who were unjustly prosecuted based on suspicion of their ancestry, but who were later found to be innocent of wrongdoing, though not before having their lives ruined.
For over 160 years, despite the stereotype of being ‘perpetual foreigners’, Chinese immigrants, many of whom first arrived as students, have contributed immeasurably to the richness and success of the United States, including 8 Chinese Americans winning Nobel prizes in the sciences while working in America. In every field from the arts to the sciences, business to entertainment, politics to sports, Chinese Americans are loyal and hard-working citizens no different than their neighbors.
CUAAASC respectfully requests that the U.S. Congress and all elected officials take firm actions to stop blatant racial profiling of the Chinese American community, to deter any unconscionable, paranoid conducts towards Chinese Americans in the name of protecting national security. We support the demand by a coalition of Asian American organizations to FBI Director Christopher Wray urging him to meet to discuss the remarks he made apparently characterizing all person of Chinese origin in the United States as a national security threat.
We have seen instances in our history when Asian Americans have encountered such racial prejudice resulting in discriminatory laws and harmful actions, whether through the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 or the internment of 110,000 Japanese Americans during World War II. These incidences have been shameful chapters in American history, ones that we must collectively, as a nation, commit to not repeating. We need to learn the lessons of history. We would like to avoid such a situation in the future!