Tang Juan is a Chinese researcher and scientist who had been hiding in the country’s San Francisco consulate after accusations of visa fraud. Tang sought refuge at the consulate after agents interviewed her at her home in Davis on June 20.
Tang is accused of concealing her ties to the Chinese military on applications she submitted to work in the U.S. was booked into a Northern California jail early Friday. She is scheduled to appear in federal court Monday.
She is into US custody on behalf of federal authorities after she was arrested by the U.S. Marshals Service.
It was unclear if Tang Juan had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.
The US claims Tang Juan was a Part of Espionage Network
Tang Juan left her job as a visiting researcher in the Department of Radiation Oncology in June. Her work was funded by a study-based exchange program affiliated with China’s Ministry of Education.
37-year-old Houston consulate, also a researcher who said she was focusing on biology, was a fugitive from justice until last night,” a senior Justice Department official said, but has now been charged in Sacramento.
US officials made the announcement of her being accused of espionage a few hours before Washington’s deadline for Beijing to shutter its consulate in Houston, a move that triggered China to retaliate Friday by demanding the US close its consulate in Chengdu.
According to prosecutors, Tang concealed her connection to China’s military in order to enter the US, lied to federal investigators about those links, and subsequently tried to avoid arrest by taking refuge in the San Francisco consulate.
In an interview with FBI on June 20, “Tang denied serving in the Chinese military, claimed she did not know the meaning of the insignia on her uniform, and that wearing a military uniform was required for attendance at FMMU because it was a military school,” attorneys wrote in a July 20 court filing.
However, FBI investigators found photographs of her in the uniform of the Civilian Cadre of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” and that she had been employed as a researcher at the Fourth Military Medical University.
The US officials confirmed on Friday that Tang Juan was involved in a fraud investigation at a Texas research institution. They charged that consulate officials “were directly involved in communications with researchers and guided them on what information to collect.
Beijing has reportedly been using its diplomatic outposts to run an espionage network to steal intellectual property from US businesses, universities, and research centers.