Former UC researcher, alleged Chinese military spy reportedly detained by US officials (UPDATED)

The FBI believes a Chinese researcher associated with the People's Liberation Army is being harbored inside the Chinese consulate in San Francisco.

The researcher was accused of using a fraudulent visa to steal American intellectual property.

UPDATE: U.S. officials reportedly said that Juan Tang has been detained by U.S. officials.

UPDATE July 24: Reuters reported that Juan Tang has been detained by U.S. officials. She is expected Friday in court. 


Original story below: 

The FBI believes the Chinese consulate in San Francisco is harboring Juan Tang, a former University of California-Davis researcher who allegedly lied about her connection to the Chinese military to obtain a visa.

On June 20, the FBI found and questioned Tang. According to a court filing, she “denied serving in the Chinese military” and “claimed she did not know the meaning of the insignia on her uniform.” Later that day, the FBI executed a search warrant and found other evidence of Tang’s alleged affiliation with the People’s Liberation Army.

However, federal investigators concluded that after the interview, Tang went to and still remains in the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco.

The court filing came just hours before a fire broke out at the Chinese consulate in Houston after the U.S. ordered it to close.

[RELATED: Stanford researcher faces charges over alleged ties to Chinese military]

Minyao Wang, a lawyer who has worked on intellectual property theft cases related to China, told Axios that “it is highly unusual for a Chinese diplomatic post to associate so closely with a suspect in an intellectual property theft-related case.”

The authors of the court filing expressed concern that the Chinese government will aid Tang in returning home without facing American justice.

“In addition to an obvious interest in securing the return of a PLA officer, defendant’s successful flight from the United States would bolster the PRC’s information collection activities in the United States,” said the court filing. This would harm the United States’ ability to “deter the illegal conduct of foreign governments in the United States.”

The United States government believes that the Tang Juan affair is “not an isolated” incident. The PLA is conducting a program “to send military scientists to the United States on false pretenses with false covers or false statements about their true employment.”

[RELATED: Federal probe reveals disturbing trend of researchers with foreign ties, most to China]

Campus Reform has reported on several similar incidents involving Chinese academics receiving visa applications, working at universities, and allegedly attempting to transfer information to the PLA.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @BenZeisloft