Washington, D.C. — Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC) members, including Reps. Judy Chu (D-CA), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Grace Meng (D-NY), and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), joined a coalition of Asian American organizations for a news conference on May 23 — demanding justice for Chinese American hydrologist Sherry Chen. She was fired from her position with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in 2016 after being falsely accused of committing espionage.
Chen appealed her case to the U.S. Merit Protection Board, which ruled in April 2018 that Chen was the “victim of a gross injustice” and should have her employment reinstated by the Department of Commerce. She still hasn’t been able to return to work.
CAPAC sent a letter to the Department of Commerce Office of Inspector General, signed by over 30 members of Congress, requesting an independent investigation into the mishandling of this case.
The letter said Chen was targeted, not on any reasonable evidence, “but on what appears to be her race.” It goes on to say, “It does not appear that anyone at the Department has been held accountable for the pattern of misconduct in Ms. Chen’s case. We remain concerned that her case reflects systemic problems at the Department and warrants further review.”
Chen was arrested in 2014. FBI agents accused her of using a stolen password to obtain information about U.S. dams, as well as lying about a meeting with a Chinese official. However, a week before she was to go to trial, the case abruptly collapsed with little explanation.