By Catherine Potente and Srimathi Kannan
NEW YORK, NY – A wrongfully prosecuted naturalized U.S. citizen has filed an appeal against the U.S. government following their dismissal of claims regarding a groundless arrest and investigation, according to the pleadings filed here in court.
In May 2015, FBI agents arrested Xiaoxing Xi, a professor at Temple University and specialist of
superconductor technologies, in front of his family for allegedly sharing technology with scientists in China.
Despite being a naturalized U.S. citizen, Professor Xiaoxing Xi was wrongly portrayed as a technological spy, when all the facts of the case came out.
The FBI’s arrest threatened Xi with $1 million in fines, with 80 years in prison. Four months later, the charges were dropped because the government’s accusations were false, according to Xi’s court pleadings.
On Feb. 7, 2022, Xi and his family filed an appeal in an attempt to make the U.S. admit to violating Professor Xi’s Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights.
“If we can’t hold the government accountable now, there will be little to stop the government from profiling other Asian American scientists and ruining more innocent people’s lives in the future,” stated Professor Xi.
The appeal was filed after the lower courts dismissed 9 out of the 10 claims made by Professor Xi in April 2021.
According to the ACLU, one of Xi’s claim stated his arrest was driven by discriminatory reasons and was “rooted in the same bias that has led the FBI and the Justice Department to wrongly prosecute several other Americans of Chinese descent.”
The lower court dismissed this claim, along with a claim regarding the reckless and false statements made by the FBI that supported Xi’s wrongful prosecution.
Even after a year, Xi and his family continue to experience trauma from the incident.
The Xi family’s house was searched extensively after Xi’s arrest.
Joyce Xi, Professor Xi’s daughter, stated, “We still live in fear of FBI intimidation and surveillance. It’s been a year and they still haven’t provided any explanation or recourse for the devastation they caused.”
The ACLU argued, “[Professor Xi] was subjected to DNA sampling, a mug shot, fingerprinting, interrogation, and a strip search” after his arrest. Xi’s access to his lab was denied and he was suspended from the position as the interim chair of the Temple Physics Department.
Professor Xi’s discrimination is seen in the foundation of the China Initiative, which was established by the Trump administration in 2018.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the initiative was launched to counter Chinese national security threats and combat China’s unreasonable economic practices, “including its outbound investment policies and sponsorship of unauthorized computer intrusions.”
The senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Security Project, Patrick Toomey, believes that a biased approach of profiling Chinese American scientists that is driven by discrimination will continue to occur, unless the Biden Administration discards the China Initiative.
David Rudovsky, partner at Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP, argued the judicial relief must be provided to Xi and his family because their constitutional rights have clearly been violated.
The ACLU, the civil right law firm Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinberg & Lin LLP, and Jonathan Hafetz are representing Professor Xi in this matter.