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Stanford University researcher indicted for being a secret member of China’s military

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A Stanford University researcher in neurological studies has been indicted by a federal grand jury for hiding her affiliation as a member of the Chinese military forces while in the United States, the DOJ stated Friday.

The grand jury issued the “superseding indictment” that charged Chen Song with visa fraud, obstruction of justice, destruction of documents, and false statements “in connection with a scheme to conceal and lie about her status as a member of the People’s Republic of China’s military forces while in the United States.”

“We allege that while Chen Song worked as a researcher at Stanford University, she was secretly a member of China’s military, the People’s Liberation Army,” said U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson for the Northern District of California.

“When Song feared discovery, she destroyed documents in a failed attempt to conceal her true identity,” Anderson stated in a press release. “This prosecution will help to protect elite institutions like Stanford from illicit foreign influences.”

Song, 39, allegedly entered the United States on Dec. 23, 2018. According to the superseding indictment she used a J-1 non-immigrant visa to conduct research at Stanford University. According to FBI Special Agent in Charge Craig D. Fair, with the FBI’s San Francisco Office, Song took “active steps to destroy evidence of affiliation with the Chinese military.”

He noted that she also took steps to destroy her “current PLA credentials depicting her in military dress uniform.”

She obtained the J-1 visa “for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs” with an application she submitted in November 2018.

Many times, foreign and industrial spies use the student and other non-immigrant work visa’s to enter the United States and steal research and information. China has been prolific in its tendency to steal from U.S. researchers and companies. Moreover, the Chinese communist government has notoriously attempted to infiltrate U.S. intelligence and defense apparatus, according to numerous analysts.

In Song’s visa application, she described herself as a “neurologist who was coming to the United States to conduct research at Stanford University related to brain disease.”

DOJ PRESS RELEASE:

As part of the application, Song stated that she had served in the Chinese military only from Sept. 1, 2000, through June 30, 2011. She further stated that her employer was “Xi Diaoyutai Hospital” located at “No. 30 Fucheng Road, Beijing, 100142,” and that her highest rank was “STUDENT.”

The superseding indictment alleges that these were lies, and that Song was a member of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the Chinese military, when she entered and while she was in the United States, and that the hospital she listed on her visa as her employer was a cover for her true employer, the PLA Air Force General Hospital in Beijing. 

Assistant Director with the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division Alan E. Kohler Jr., who was directly involved in the investigation, noted in the press release that members of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army “cannot lie on their visa applications and come to the United States to study without expecting the FBI and our partners to catch them.”

“Time and again, the Chinese government prioritizes stealing U.S. research and taking advantage of our universities over obeying international norms,” Kohler stated.

Evidence of Song’s Connection to the Chinese Military (DOJ PRESS RELEASE BELOW)

The superseding indictment also adds allegations and charges of obstructive conduct by Song. Specifically, the superseding indictment alleges that Song found out about a case against another PLA member, who was charged on June 7, 2020, in the Northern District of California with visa fraud. The superseding indictment alleges that she then attempted to delete a digital folder of documents on an external hard drive that she possessed containing records relating to her military service and visa fraud, including:

  1. A digital version of a letter from Song, written in Chinese and addressed to the People’s Republic of China consulate in New York, in which Song explained that her stated employer, “Beijing Xi Diaoyutai Hospital” was a false front, and that because relevant approval documents were classified, she had attempted to mail them;
  2. An image of Song’s PLA credentials, with a photograph of her in military dress uniform, covering the time period from July 2016 to July 2020; and
  3. A digital version of a resume for Song, written in Chinese, again with a photograph of her in military dress uniform and listing her employer as the Air Force General Hospital.

Further, according to the superseding indictment, Song lied to FBI agents when interviewed, denying any affiliation with the PLA after 2011, and information associating Song with the PLA or Air Force General Hospital began to disappear from the Internet after the FBI’s investigation of Song was known to her. Finally, the superseding indictment alleges that, after Song had been charged by criminal complaint in this case, she selectively deleted relevant emails from that account, including certain emails relevant to her military service, employment, and affiliations.

Song is charged with visa fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1546(a); obstruction of official proceedings, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(2); two counts of alteration, destruction, mutilation, or concealment of records, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1512(c)(1); and making false statements to a government agency, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001(a)(2).   

An indictment merely alleges that a crime has been committed and Song, like all defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

If convicted, she faces a maximum statutory penalty of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the visa fraud count; up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for each of the obstruction and alteration charges; and up to five years in prison and a fine of $250,000 for the false statements charge. In addition, the court may order additional terms of supervised release. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Song’s next appearance is scheduled for April 7, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. PST, before the Honorable William Alsup, U.S. District Judge, for pretrial conference, with a trial scheduled to begin on April 12, 2021.

You can follow Sara Carter on Twitter @SaraCarterDC

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U.S. Commerce Department: Chinese firms are supplying Russian entities

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On Tuesday, the United States Commerce Department said several companies in China are supplying Russia’s military. The announcement was made alongside a “new round of blacklist restrictions for foreign firms aiding Moscow’s war against Ukraine” reports National Review.

“These entities have previously supplied items to Russian entities of concern before February 24, 2022 and continue to contract to supply Russian entity listed and sanctioned parties after Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine,” stated an official Commerce Department notice posted to the Federal Register.

“Commerce also blacklisted several Chinese companies and Chinese government research institutes for their work on naval-technology and supplying Iran with U.S. tech in a way that harms America’s national security” adds National Review.

Six companies that are helping further the Russian invasion are also based in Lithuania, Russia, the U.K., Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.

National Review reports:

The Commerce Department stopped short of blaming the Chinese government for the sanctions-evasion activity it identified today. Commerce secretary Gina Raimondo previously said that there doesn’t appear to be any “systemic efforts by China to go around our export controls.” The Biden administration has publicly and privately warned Beijing against supporting the Russian war, with White House officials even leaking to the press about an effort to present China’s ambassador in Washington with information about Russian troop movements ahead of the invasion.

While Beijing has not expressed outright support for the invasion, it has used its propaganda networks to back Moscow’s narrative. Meanwhile, top Chinese and Russian officials have moved to solidify the “no-limits” partnership they declared in early February. General secretary Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin held a call this month, marking the construction of a new bridge between their two countries, during which they reiterated their support for the burgeoning geopolitical alignment.

National-security adviser Jake Sullivan said last month that the U.S. has no indications that Beijing has provided Russia with military equipment. A Finnish think tank, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, estimated on June 12 that Chinese imports of Russian oil since the outset of the conflict have amounted to $13 billion, making China the biggest consumer of the country’s oil exports. Previously, it was Germany. “While Germany cut back on purchases since the start of the war, China’s oil and gas imports from Russia rose in February and remained at a roughly constant level since,” the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission noted.

Official advisor Anton Gerashchenko tweeted incredible video of Ukrainian soldiers sweeping through fields, writing “this is how our fields are de-mined so that farmers can harvest crops.”  On Monday a Russian missile struck a mall in Kremenchuk, Ukraine, where over 1,000 civilians were inside.

“Almost two dozen people were still missing Tuesday one day after a Russian airstrike struck a Ukrainian shopping mall and killed 18 civilians inside…On top of the 18 dead and 21 people missing, Ukrainian Interior Minster Denis Monastyrsky said 59 were injured. Several of the dead were burned beyond recognition” reported the New York Post.

 

 

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