AASF Webinar: DOJ’s China Initiative: Perspectives on How It Makes America Stronger or Weaker?

March 6, 2021

Since the Department of Justice (DOJ) launched its China Initiative in 2018 to counter national security and technology threats from China, more than 1000 scientists have been investigated, and about 50 scientists were arrested with criminal charges. However, few of them were found to be involved in technology espionage, and others were found either innocent or misconduct. The hard-handed use of criminal law to prosecute the misconducts of scientists has created frustrations in the US higher education institutions, fears among scientists, worries about the future leadership of America in science and technology innovation, and loss of competitiveness in attracting talents from abroad. In this panel, we will discuss and debate the following questions:

  • Does criminalizing scientists make America stronger or weaker?
  • Do we need to stop or revisit and change the China Initiative for a better and stronger America?
  • Is it legal to use new disclosure rules to criminalize past missing disclosures of scientists for university-approved international collaborations?
  • Academic freedom has been the foundation of America’s leadership in education, science, and technology innovation. How can the government, academia, industry, and scientists come together to make better research policies to promote science and protect national security under the constitution?
  • Who should attend this forum? We want you! The China Initiative will affect America’s leadership in science in decades to come.


Jay Bratt, Chief of the Counterintelligence and Export Control Section (CES), National Security Division in the Department of Justice.

Margaret K. Lewis, Professor of Law, Seton Hall University School of Law.