Beijing is threatening to take Americans hostage in China if the Justice Department does not stop prosecuting several Chinese scientists arrested in the United States this year, a report said Saturday.
Chinese government officials have repeatedly warned their American counterparts that Americans in China face detention if his demands are not met, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The drastic action – called “hostage diplomacy” – will be revenge for the arrests of at least five Chinese military scientists visiting American universities to conduct research.
Scientists have been accused of visa fraud for allegedly lying to US immigration authorities about their active service status in the Chinese People̵
The nation first began issuing warnings in the summer after Chinese scientist Huang Tang, who works at the University of California, Davis, was questioned by the FBI and settled for a month at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.
Chinese officials have vowed revenge if she is not allowed to leave the consulate and return home, according to the report.
US authorities expected China to deal with the threat – but did not, and the FBI arrested Tang in July when she left the consulate, the newspaper reported.
Tang is currently on bail after pleading not guilty to visa fraud. Her lawyer, Malcolm Seagal, denied that China had interfered in his client’s case.
At least four other researchers have been accused of hiding their ties to the Chinese military and have pleaded not guilty to such charges.
The State Department ordered China to close its consulate in Houston in July and told all Chinese military researchers remaining in the United States to leave.
Sources told the Journal that the decision was made after US officials said Chinese diplomats were coordinating with scientists to gather cutting-edge research from US universities.
A State Department spokesman declined to respond to China’s alleged threats, but told the newspaper: “We warn US citizens that business disputes, court orders to pay an agreement or government investigations into both criminal and civil matters could lead to a ban. an exit that will prohibit your departure from China until the problem is resolved.
“We are aware that in other cases, the Chinese government has detained American, Canadian and other individuals without legal grounds to retaliate against lawful persecution and to put pressure on their governments by ruthlessly disregarding those involved,” John Demers said. , head of the national security department of the Ministry of Justice.
“If China wants to be seen as one of the world’s leading nations, it must respect the rule of law and stop taking hostages.”