We have established a database to learn about Chinese initiatives. Then the government changed its records.

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The Justice Department itself is not very enthusiastic. As we explained in the main article, officials of the Ministry of Justice have so far failed to clearly define what a “China Initiative” case is or how many cases it has filed in total. Due to the lack of transparency, people cannot know exactly what the “China Initiative” is, what results it has achieved, and what the price has been paid to those who have been severely affected.

“I want to see a balance sheet,” said Jeremy Wu, who held a senior civil rights and ethics position in the US government before co-founding the APA Judicial Task Force, one of the groups that independently tracked Chinese initiatives. “What did we get? How many spies did we catch, compared to the damage caused [been] Not only for the individual, but also for the future of American technology? ”

Our database is not that balance sheet. But this is an important step towards answering some of Wu’s questions-so far, the US government has not answered these questions. On the contrary, it added confusion: Two days after our request for comment, the Department of Justice made a major update to its webpage, deleting cases that did not support its successful counterintelligence work.

How we did it

This spring, we started searching for all press releases linked on the China Initiatives website of the Ministry of Justice, and then crawled their data in August. We then extracted thousands of pages of federal court records related to each case and used this information to build our database.

We also combed through other court documents and public statements of FBI and DOJ officials to find cases that have been removed from the web or were never included. We then supplemented this information by interviewing defense lawyers, the defendant’s family members, co-researchers, former U.S. attorneys, civil rights advocates, legislators, and external academics studying the initiative. We found that more cases were excluded from the DOJ’s public list, but were either publicly described as part of the initiative, or fit the general pattern of facts of scholars accused of concealing ties with Chinese institutions, hackers allegedly working for the Chinese government, or The person accused of illegal technology transfer.

Our goal is to create a database of Chinese prosecutions that is as comprehensive as possible. We know that there may be more, and as we confirm the existence of other cases, our database may grow. If you have more information about the China Initiative case, please contact us: tips@technologyreview.com.

When the Ministry of Justice stopped updating its “China Initiative” webpage in June, our tracking work became more difficult. This time frame roughly corresponds to the resignation of John Demers, the assistant attorney general of the national security agency responsible for overseeing the plan.

Once we built a rough database and analyzed the data, we compared it with Wu of the APA Justice Task Force and the Asian Americans Advancing Justice. AJC is another civil rights organization that tracks cases. We shared our preliminary findings with a small group of legislators, civil rights organization representatives, and academics and sought their opinions.

What has changed by the Department of Justice

November 19—Two days after MIT Technology Review raised questions about the initiative to the Department of Justice, including some cases that we believe were omitted or incorrectly included—the department made a major revision to the China Initiative webpage.

These changes are extensive, but they have not really eliminated much of the confusion surrounding the initiative. In fact, in some ways, they make the situation worse.

Although he did not answer our specific questions, Wyn Hornbuckle, a spokesperson for the National Security Department of the U.S. Department of Justice, notified us via email that the staff “has been updating our web page to reflect some changes, updates, and dismissals.”

He also shared the department’s own number. “Since November 2018, we have filed or resolved 9 China-related economic espionage prosecutions and 7 trade secret theft cases. We have also filed 12 cases involving fraud by universities and/or funding agencies,” he Write.

We found more than 12 research integrity cases-but of the 23 research integrity cases included in our database, only 13 are currently on the website. (One of the cases was resolved before the charges were filed.) Six of the cases ended in guilty pleas. Seven are still waiting.

Of the 8 scientific integrity cases that ended in dismissal or not guilty, 7 had previously appeared on the website, but DOJ has now removed them from its list.

Our analysis shows that since November 2018, 12 cases have been accused of theft of trade secrets or economic espionage. There are 10 cases listed on the Ministry of Justice website. (The two are related prosecutions, but they were charged separately.) Among these 10 cases, seven were charged if only Steal trade secrets, not more serious accusations of economic espionage. One person accused of economic espionage and theft of trade secrets. The other two are hacking cases-one includes citations for economic espionage and the other includes citations for theft of trade secrets.

The Ministry of Justice did not respond to multiple requests for a more detailed breakdown of its figures.

Our subsequent analysis showed that the Ministry of Justice has removed 17 cases and 39 defendants from its “China Initiative” page, added two cases[thereare5defendantsintotalandupdatedsentencingandtrialinformationforexistingcases(Ifthereis)[withatotaloffivedefendantsandupdatedexistingcaseswithsentencingandtrialinformationwhereavailable[總共有5名被告,並更新了現有案件的量刑和審判信息(如果有)。[withatotaloffivedefendantsandupdatedexistingcaseswithsentencingandtrialinformationwhereavailable

Hornbuckle did not respond to follow-up requests to comment on these deletions regarding transparency.

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