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Feds charge visiting Stanford researcher with lying about ties to China's military

Feds charge visiting Stanford researcher with lying about ties to China's military
© istock

A visiting Stanford University researcher was charged in a federal court over allegedly lying about ties to China's military, authorities announced Monday

The case was announced by United States Attorney David Anderson and FBI Special Agent in Charge John Bennett.

A criminal complaint was filed against researcher Song Chen, 38, on July 17, over suspected visa fraud in connection with an alleged plan to lie about her status as an active member of the People's Republic of China's military while researching in the United States.

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According to an affidavit supporting the complaint filed, Song entered the U.S. on Dec. 23, 2018, utilizing a J-1 nonimmigrant visa "for individuals approved to participate in work-and study-based exchange visitor programs."

She submitted her application for the visa in November 2018, stating she had served in the Chinese military for nearly ten years and ended her ties on June 30, 2001.

The application added that her employer was "Xi Diaoyutai Hospital," providing an address, and stating the purpose of her visa request was to serve as a neurologist at Stanford conducting research pertaining to brain disease.

The affidavit alleges Song's claims were lies and that she was a member of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) when she entered and while she remained in the U.S., also alleging the hospital listed on her visa as her employer was a cover for her actual employer, the Chinese PLA.

Additionally, a Chinese health care website published Song as an attending physician of the Department of Neurology of the PLA Air Force General Hospital, which shares the same address with the hospital given on her visa application. The listing allegedly showed a photo of Song wearing what appears to be a military uniform.

Further allegations in the affidavit present evidence that Song deleted files off her computer claiming admission that the Beijing Xi Diaoyutai Hospital was a false front, according to an alleged letter she wrote to the Chinese Consulate in New York.

Song is facing charges of obtaining a visa by material false statements, with her next federal court appearance slated for Tuesday.

If convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.