On January 20, 2022, a federal court in Boston dismissed charges against Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineering professor Gang Chen, who had been accused of concealing his affiliations with Chinese government institutions. The dropping of all charges against Dr. Chen was a major setback for the China Initiative, a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) program meant to combat economic espionage and intellectual property theft conducted by the Chinese government. Some argue that the DOJ’s efforts to counter Chinese national security threats led to racial profiling and created a climate of fear among academics and researchers of Chinese descent in the United States. On February 23, 2022, the DOJ announced that it had terminated the China Initiative.
In an interview conducted on April 13, 2022, Professor Gang Chen talks about his case and his reaction to the end of the China Initiative, what it means to him and the broader scientific community.