US Federal prosecutors have charged four Chinese nationals with visa fraud for lying about their status as members of the Chinese Army, while they were conducting research in the US, the justice department said.
The FBI has arrested three of them, while the fourth, who is a fugitive, is currently being harboured at the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco, it said.
Each defendant has been charged with visa fraud. If convicted, they face a maximum of 10 years in prison and a fine of USD 250,000.
“These members of China’s People Liberation Army (PLA) applied for research visas while hiding their true affiliation with the PLA,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C Demers.
“This is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions. We will continue to conduct this investigation together with the FBI,” he said.
Noting that the US welcomes students, academics, and researchers from across the globe, John Brown, Executive Assistant Director of the FBI’s National Security Branch, said that the announcement shows the extreme lengths to which the Chinese government has gone to infiltrate and…