Such losses often fuel the Chinese propaganda machine and harm American interests. “Every case that goes south, especially one involving a minority community, discredits the Department of Justice in the minds of the American people,” said David H. Laufman, an official in the Department of Homeland Security under the Obama administration.
In announcing changes to the China initiative, Mr Olsen is expected to say that the Ministry of Justice will treat some cases of appropriation fraud as civil cases in the future, and reserve criminal prosecution for the most serious cases of fraud, according to the persons informed about the case .
He is expected to note that China is not the only foreign nation that has sought to secure economic and other ties to U.S. researchers in hopes of obtaining valuable information, so the problem is broader than the China Initiative name suggests. In addition, the Ministry of Justice will have a renewed process to assess whether a researcher has provided sufficient information about foreign affiliations, which will take into account recently published guide from the White House describing what researchers need to reveal.
It is unclear whether the Justice Department will rename the program, or whether it will investigate espionage and corporate fraud committed by foreign nations, as it has always done, but without moniker. A spokesman for the Justice Department declined to comment.
Various Asian-American business and civil rights groups as well as the Congress’ Asian Pacific American Caucus told the White House and the Justice Department last spring that the China initiative gave the impression that prosecutors were more intent on cracking down on the Chinese instead of the Chinese. government. The cases involving researchers exacerbated this perception.
“Most failed to expose espionage, and the government instead fell back on paperwork for prosecution,” said Ben Suarato, a spokesman for Congress’s Asian Pacific American Caucus. “There are real national security issues. We’re just saying that the China initiative was the wrong way to address them.”
Following his confirmation in October, Mr Olsen held a series of listening sessions with members of Congress, universities, civil rights groups and national security officials in an attempt to address countless concerns, including how the initiative could have contributed to racial profiling, according to people briefed on the meetings.