June 12 (UPI) — China is rebuking the United States following the arrest of a Chinese national accused of making false statements on his visa application.
Beijing foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying suggested Friday that Xin Wang, a scientific researcher who was detained Sunday at Los Angeles International Airport, was being falsely accused by the U.S. Justice Department, the South China Morning Post reported.
Hua said Wang’s arrest was part of a series of rights violations of Chinese nationals in the United States.
“Some of them had their electronic devices confiscated without proper grounds,” she said.
“I think these are all blatant infringement of the rights of Chinese nationals in the United States, and the purpose is to demonize China.”
On Thursday, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California said a scientific researcher and officer in China’s People’s Liberation Army was arrested in Los Angeles while trying to return to China, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Wang, who was issued a J1 non-immigrant visa application in December 2018, had made fraudulent statements, lawyer David L. Anderson and FBI Special Agent John F. Bennett said in a criminal complaint this week.
Wang could face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000 if convicted, according to the Times.
U.S. customs officials said Wang was attempting to take U.S. university research out of the country to share it with Chinese military personnel.
In his visa application in 2018, Wang said the purpose of his visit was to conduct scientific research at the University of California, San Francisco.
According to the FBI’s criminal complaint, Wang did not disclose his rank of major in the People’s Liberation Army. Wang also remained on the PLA’s payroll, the complaint says.
The U.S. Justice Department said Wang disclosed he “had been instructed by his supervisor, the director of his military university lab in [China], to observe the layout of the UCSF lab and bring back information on how to replicate it in China.”
The Justice Department also said Wang had deleted WeChat messages on his phone prior to departure.