The US government filed motion in federal courts on Friday to dismiss charges in the remaining four counts of Chinese researchers arrested on visa fraud charges last year.
The case against a fifth Chinese researcher was dismissed earlier in the day at the request of the US Justice Department.
The cases were part of the department’s “China Initiative” launched three years ago under the Trump administration to halt the transfer of US technology to China. The proposals to dismiss the cases coincide with Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s visit to China on Sunday and Monday.
All five arrests took place about a year ago, when US-China relations soured. Now the world’s two largest economies are trying to navigate a turbulent relationship.
The Justice Department said in a statement that it was dismissing the cases in the “interest of justice.”
“Recent developments in some cases with alleged, undeclared ties to the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China have prompted the department to re-evaluate these indictments,” department spokesman Wayne Hornbuckle said in a statement. They were development.
All Chinese scientists have pleaded not guilty of falsifying visa applications to conceal military ties as well as other allegations.
The American Civil Liberties Union and the Asian Law Caucus have expressed concern about the cases, which they say reflect anti-China bias. Defense lawyers have said their clients’ only “crime” is running away from US-China politics.