This following letter was sent to FBI Director Wray, certified and return receipt requested. It urges Wray to back off from his "Whole-of Society approach", WOSA, because he is using a totalitarian methodology in peacetime to solve an American challenge. Director Wray got NIH and many universities to act in ways which may violate the civil rights of Chinese Americans. So to stand up for our civil rights, we need to push back at the source of our problems - Director Wray. Do your share!
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June 21, 2019
The Honorable Christopher A. Wray
935 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
Washington, D.C. 20535
Dear Director Wray:
Greetings. I studied your record as a public servant on websites recently, and pleasantly realized that you are a person of integrity and noble intentions. Hence, I hope this letter will reach you. Let's reason together.
Your advocacy to apply a "whole-of-society approach (WOSA)" to stop spying by students and scholars of Chinese origin was necessitated by and ironically inspired
by the success of the spying operation from China. To wit, yourSenate Statement on 2/15/18. "....view the China threat as not just a whole-of-government threat but a whole-of-society threat on their end, and I think it's going to take a whole-of-society response by us." Please ponder for a minute. Will using the Chinese totalitarian
methodology to deal with an American challenge be appropriate and/or effective?
There are only 2 precedents of WOSA in peacetime in modern human history. Both occurred in totalitarianChina under Chairman Mao. They were "The Great Leap Forward" from 1958 to 1962, and the "Cultural revolution" from 1966 to 1976. Both brought disasters for China. There is no equivalent WOSA in peacetime in the U.S.. The closest approximation was the "Red Scare" in the cold war. While there were legitimate concerns over communist infiltration, that period was remembered in our history as the McCarthy Era, which included the surveillance of Dr. King and other civil rights leaders, thousands of people unfairly losing their jobs, and "blacklists" in Hollywood. Do you wish to be remembered for starting a similar period in the 21st Century?
Retrospectively, the cause of these disasters in China is clear. In the 1st case, government empowered individuals who knew nothing about making steel to help make steel. In the 2nd case, government empowered individuals who knew little of Chinese culture to form a new Chinese culture.
Director Wray, are you asking our 300 million compatriots who know nothing about catching spies to be on the look out for Chinese spies? Will the civil rights of Chinese Americans (ChAms) be trampled? Will scientists of Chinese origin be targeted by untrained individuals? Will unfair accusations befall ChAms, scientists or not, owing to professional rivalry and personal grudges, because the power relations are stacked against us by your WOSA?
Some evidence of the defects of your WOSA are already showing up:
[A] Sending Gifts - our Top Scientists - to China:
Top scientists are like free agents. When wronged, they could choose to leave for warmer climates. Your WOSA has apparently been more successful than China's many recruiting programs in getting our top scientists to move to China
permanently. They are:
1) & 2) Drs. Li Xiaojiang andLi Shihua who did break-through research on
Huntington's disease through genetic engineering;
3)Chunzai Wang who is one of the foremost experts in the world on ocean-
4)Xifeng Wu who was until recently Director of the Center for Public Health
and Translational Genomics, Betty B. Marcus Chair in Cancer, MD
Anderson Cancer Center.
[B] Helping China Stop Its Brain Drain:
China has issued warnings to its students and academics of the risks of studying in the US - limits on the duration of visas and visa refusals. Such warnings are likely ineffective until the discriminatory practices urged on by your WOSA hit the ChAm community. Examples of discriminatory practices incited by your WOSA include:
Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance" accusing almost all ChAm organizations headquartered in Chinatowns as acting to adversely affect the U.S. interest. That report was met with the unanimous disapproval of the ChAm community.
ii) A patriotic US visa officer in China almost single-handedly lost a unique
Chinese graduate student for MIT, who was voted by the prestigious journal
Using "whole-of-society" as a slogan to dramatize the enormous task you faced in your senate testimony on 2/15/19 was understandable. But retrospectively, you must realize WOSA is a totalitarian idea. When you doubled down on your "whole-of-society" idea on 4/29/19, I was aghast. To wit, you told our nation's top academic officers on 4/29/19 "We've got to share as much information as we can with you, as quickly as we can, through as many channels as we can. We've also got to create mechanisms for you to share information with us."
When the above and other components of your WOSA are executed, it'll make all ChAms feel like 3rd-class citizens living in a totalitarian society - watched over by colleagues, neighbors, friends and perhaps even relatives. Do you want that? Is that what America has come to?
To protect national secrets, rules should be tightened and the enforcement should be targeted towards wrongdoers. They should rely on trained law enforce-ment and not amateur spycatchers. The former will lead to real wrongdoing being caught. The latter will lead to profiling, prejudice and abuse. New rules should be well-publicized and there should be a grace period for people to adjust.
Hopefully, I'll get your feedback within 3 weeks. Without any feedback from you to check my internal compass, I'll be compelled to find other ways to express my deep concerns to our nation's top political leaders. I got to know some of them when I was the Lt. Governor of Delaware (1985-89) and as the President of 80-20 Educational Foundation, which is by far our nation's largest Asian Am. political organization. 80-20 has a huge email list, a non-trivial war chest, a steely determination to protect AsAm rights and to do our small part to help make America a "more perfect Union." Looking forward to hearing from you,
With George's permission, I've shortened his 1350-word article to the bare-bone facts that demonstrate America is stabbing itself.
The scientists being driven out of the US are:
1 & 2)Li Xiaojiang "and his co-director wife, Li Shihua, have contributedbreak-through research on Huntington's disease through genetic engineering. ..... When the Lis were dismissed by Emory U. (in 2019), a university in southern China where the couple regularly visited immediately extended an (extremely attractive) employment offer for them to continue their work."
He is a "longtime employee of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and he was arrested and charged with accepting payment from China, apparently an expense reimbursement of about $2,000 that he failed or forgot to report."
By the time his case came to trial, Wang told his lawyer that he wanted to cop a plea to one felony charge & move on with his life." He was sentenced to jail for one night."Wang is now a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and leading a group doing climate research."
4) Cao Yuan may be American bureaucrats' next gift to China
"Cao discovered that he could achieve superconductivity at room temperature with twisted graphene sheets. In China for a home visit, the visa office at the US consulate is apparently holding up his visa that would enable his return to the US."
Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
-- George Santayana
"In the 1950s during the hysteria of McCarthyism, the US government hounded the brilliant rocket scientist Qian Xuesen, a Chinese-American co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Lab. (Pasadena, CA). His plan was always to stay in the US but the federal government basically gift-wrapped him and sent him to Beijing, where he went on to lead China's missile and rocket development. .... If the US now considers China a military threat, it has the late senator Joe McCarthy to thank."
Director Wray's "whole of society" advocacy may be at fault
How did we get into such self-stabbing acts for the 2nd time?
It started with the "Whole of society" approach, advocated by FBI Director Wray, to rid the US of "Chinese spies". As a slogan "Whole of society" sounds great. However, how will the FBI teach our 300 million compatriots to know the difference between "espionage" versus "pro-China behavior" or simply "being friendly to folks back in the old country" - all of which are legal in peace time?
Not thinking through the details, Director Wray's "whole of society" slogan
has stabbed America in the back in the 3 real-world instances:
(a) A patriotic visa officer at the American consulate in China may want to stop a seemingly very bright student, Cao Yuan, from getting back to MIT.
(b) A Dept. of Commerce bureaucrat, probably disliking Chunzai Wang's frequent visits to China, found that Wang accept $2,100 from China over 3 years for mentoring some Chinese students. Hurrah, caught a paid spy for China in action! Arrest and prosecute him!
(c) The case of the Lis didn't go through due procedure or the court,
although Li was tenured and claimed innocence. 80-20 EF tried to get in touch with them to see if they needed help. They never replied. The next thing I knew they were apparently headed for China.
CONGRATULATIONS, Director Wray. You are apparently more successful than China's many recruiting programs in getting our top scientists to move to China permanently. In addition, you encouraged 'untrained catch-a-Chinese-spy "want-to-bes"' to question the legitimate actions of Chinese Americans as possibly adversely affecting America's interests. An example is the recent Hoover Institute Report entitled "China's Influence & American Interests: Promoting Constructive Vigilance" which met with unanimous disapproval from the Chinese Am. community.
Time to reflect on your broad brush "whole-of-society" approach, Director Wray*?