Asian American Scholar Forum Celebrates AASF Member, Dr. Xiaoxing Xi’s Victory At Federal Appeals Court

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May 31, 2023

Media Contact: Mary Tablante,

Washington, DC—The Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) joins Dr. Xiaoxing Xi in  celebrating a recent court decision that will allow him to bring a lawsuit against the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for wrongful prosecution and unlawful search, seizure and surveillance.  

Dr. Xi—a physics professor at Temple University, an internationally recognized expert in superconducting technology, and an AASF member—was indicted in 2015 on false allegations of sharing sensitive technology with scientists in China. After being arrested by the FBI at his home, where his wife and daughters were detained at gunpoint by armed agents, Dr. Xi faced hours of interrogation and intrusive bodily searches, and was suspended as interim chair of the physics department at Temple University. The federal government also searched and seized Dr. Xi and his family’s private communications and personal property. 

In 2017, Dr. Xi attempted to bring a lawsuit against the U.S. government and the FBI agent involved in the wrongful investigation and prosecution, but a federal court later dismissed the claims brought by Dr. Xi and his family in April 2021. Last year, Xi appealed the decision and a three-judge panel  at a federal appeals court made the well-reasoned decision in their 37-page ruling last week to reverse a lower court decision effectively reviving Dr. Xi’s suit seeking damages from the government.

“Since the government falsely accused me of stealing American technology for China eight years ago, numerous scientists of Chinese descent have experienced similar devastation to their careers and the lives of their families based on various false accusations,” Dr. Xiaoxing Xi said, “It’s time for the DOJ to explain to the American people why they have adopted such policies that severely damage American science and innovation.”

“We celebrate this significant win for Professor Xiaoxing Xi, his family, and the broader Asian American community. The Asian American Scholar Forum and partnering organizations worked hard to support Dr. Xi during oral arguments heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit last year on this devastating case. We know full well that last week’s decision was hard-won, and that the road ahead will continue to require a powerful network of support and advocacy,” AASF Executive Director Gisela Perez Kusakawa, Esq. “We thank Dr. Xi and his family for their tireless efforts for accountability, and his attorneys at Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing, Feinburg & Lin LLP and the ACLU’s National Security Project for their brilliant work on his case. AASF will continue to be a voice alongside Dr. Xi and the broader community of Asian American and immigrant scientists until justice and accountability are realized.”

 “Dr. Xi’s right to privacy was grossly violated, which has had disastrous consequences for him and his family. Now, nearly eight years and several legal battles later, we are relieved to learn of the appeal decision that will allow Dr. Xi to demand the answers from the U.S. government that he deserves,” Dr. Yasheng Huang, AASF President  said, “Justice for Dr. Xi and his family is a necessary step to rebuilding trust and preventing future harm to the Asian American, immigrant, and scientific community. The government must be held accountable to upholding and protecting First Amendment rights of academic collaboration and freedom of expression.”

“This encouraging decision comes after years of effort and fighting for justice from Xiaoxing and his family. It has been as far back as 2015 since the FBI subjected Xiaoxing and his family to unjust prosecution. Years later, they are still dealing with the trauma of this ordeal—and to this day, neither the FBI nor the government has provided any explanation or recourse for the devastation they caused,” Dr. Kai Li, AASF Vice President said,  “As this case moves back to the district court, the Asian American scholar community of scientists, researchers, and academics will be watching. Whether or not the FBI will be held accountable will be a turning point for the many who seek justice from discriminatory investigations and unjust prosecutions.”

Experiences like Dr. Xi’s have caused a chilling effect among Asian American and immigrant scientists and scholars. This was captured in the Asian American Scholar Forum’s 2022 report, “Caught in the Crossfire: Fears of Chinese-American Scientists,” which revealed a decline in scientists of Asian descent staying in the U.S. and a declined likelihood of pursuing federal funding due to a climate of fear. Access the report here.

Asian American Scholar Forum supported an amicus brief for Dr. Xi, which our current Executive Director, Gisela Perez Kusakawa led in her previous role as the head of the Anti-Racial Profiling Project at Asian Americans Advancing Justice | AAJC with their affiliate, Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus. The amicus brief was co-signed by the Asian American Scholar Forum and over 70 other Asian American organizations, civil rights groups, scientific associations, and academic groups. This was a significant and unusual amount of support for an amicus brief. Access the amicus brief here.

We encourage you to learn more about Dr. Xi’s case at the ACLU website here


Asian American Scholar Forum (AASF) is a national non-profit that promotes academic belonging, openness, freedom, and equality for all. In response to heightened anti-Asian sentiments and profiling in the U.S., AASF has been a leading national voice fighting for the rights of Asian American and immigrant scientists, researchers, and scholars. AASF membership includes members from the National Academy of Engineering, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Academy of Science and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, in addition to past and current university presidents, provost, vice provosts, deans, associate deans and past and current department chairs.