Justice Dept. to End Trump-Era Initiative to Deter Chinese Threats

  February 23, 2022   News Stories

The Justice Department said on Wednesday that it was ending a contentious Trump-era effort to fight Chinese national security threats that critics said unfairly targeted professors of Asian descent.

A top Justice Department official, Matthew G. Olsen, said in remarks at George Mason University’s National Security Institute that the agency would instead introduce a broader strategy meant to counter threats from hostile nations, which would extend beyond China to include countries like Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“By grouping cases under the China Initiative rubric,” Mr. Olsen said, “we helped give rise to a harmful perception that the department applies a lower standard to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct related to that country or that we in some way view people with racial, ethnic or familial ties to China differently.”

The end of the program means the Justice Department will retire the China Initiative name and set a higher bar for prosecutions of academics and researchers who lie to the government about Chinese affiliations.

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