What ever happened to Tata Young though?
Tensions between the US and China are probably at the worst it’s been in a long time, but don’t make the mistake of thinking it can’t get worse. Fresh off US officials ordering the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, the US has now charged four Chinese nationals with visa fraud.
The four scientists had been in the country for research purposes but it turns out that they also happen to be members of China’s armed forces and even lied about it. As you’d expect, their hospitable stay in the US quickly turned rather.. inhospitable. The FBI has managed to put three of them under arrest but the fourth still remains at large and is believed to be in China’s San Francisco consulate.
Add to this the fact that FBI agents have sought out and interviewed people in 25 different cities only to find that they have a previously “undeclared affiliation” with China’s military and you get a sense of why the US is crying foul.
The US narrative here is that this is all part of China’s plan to send army scientists into the country to steal intellectual property. All four Chinese nationals had applied for research visas but also lied about their service in the Peoples Liberation Army by either stating they had never served in the military or no longer serve. Of course, the US had a field day with this.
In a press release, US justice department attorney John C Demers said that “This is another part of the Chinese Communist Party’s plan to take advantage of our open society and exploit academic institutions.” Of course, Chinese officials have denounced that any of this is true, describing the US allegations as “malicious slander”.
So what the heck happened that led to this point anyway?
Well, earlier in the week, the US ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, claiming that it had to be done “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information”. Hours after the closure was ordered, footage emerged that showed people throwing what appeared to be paper into flaming bins, which only fuelled even more speculation that China had something to hide.
But even before this, tensions were already running high and for a number of reasons too. Trade war aside, the fact that Trump keeps using the term “China virus” to describe the Covid-19 pandemic and even alleged that it originated from a lab there has left China with a bad taste in their mouths.
Then there’s the issue of China’s imposition of a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong. With many saying that the law effectively destroys the autonomy promised to the island state, the US responded by revoking Hong Kong’s preferential treatment. Needless to say, China was not happy about that and accused the US of “gross interference” in its domestic affairs, promised retaliation.
It seems like Trump’s policy on China has changed rather immensely since the pre Covid-19 days and at the rate its going, the whole situation is reading like multiple mentos tablets edging ever closer to a massive coke bottle. How will China respond to the US outright accusing them or spying? It remains to be seen but I sure as hell can’t wait to find out.