Chinese Researcher Charged With Visa Fraud Detained by Judge

A Chinese researcher in U.S. custody on charges of visa fraud was ordered detained until Aug. 10, when she’ll have a fight on her hands if she asks to be released on bail.

Juan Tang appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Deborah Barnes in Sacramento, California. She took shelter at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco after federal agents interviewed her at the University of California at Davis about allegedly lying about her military service. Officials haven’t explained how she came to be in federal custody last week.

At a hearing Monday, Lexi Negin, a federal defender representing Tang, told the judge she hasn’t been able to collect the information required to request Tang’s release on bail. Barnes set the hearing next month before U.S. Magistrate Judge Edmund Brennan to review a possible bail package. Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko Coppola told Barnes the U.S. will argue against Tang’s release.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for Tang’s release Tuesday. “China has launched solemn representations with the U.S. side urging the U.S. side to immediately release the Chinese national and ensure her legitimate and legal rights,” ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

As the U.S. and China have sparred publicly by closing each other’s consular offices in Houston and Chengdu, the Justice Department is investigating universities across the U.S. in an attempt to uncover members of China’s military forces who it says are hiding in plain sight. Prosecutors last week highlighted other recent criminal complaints and arrests of other Chinese scholars that the U.S. says are working for China’s People Liberation Army.

The case is U.S. v. Tang, 20-mj-00056, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California (Sacramento).

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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