Asians are most likely to be charged with the criminal offense of espionage than all other ethnic groups in the United States, a new study has found.
Andrew Kim, a scholar at South Texas College of Law, reviewed a sample of random cases charged under the Economic Espionage Act between 1997 and 2015. The act of 1996 was implemented to address the problem of the theft of trade secrets, safeguarding American economic health.
In his study, Kim found that 62% of defendants charged since 2009 were of Asian descent. He particularly observed that the numbers of those charged who were of Chinese descent tripled.
More interestingly, the beneficiaries were American and Chinese entities in one half and one third of the cases, respectively.
In terms of verdicts, Kim found that one in five cases were exonerated from espionage or any other crime. Among the convicted, those with Asian-sounding names were sentenced twice as long as those with Western-sounding monikers.
The findings, published by Chinese-American organization Committee of 100, are reportedly inconclusive. Experts, however, say they must be acknowledged.
Committee of 100 Chairman Frank Wu told HuffPost:
“I have seen from case after case after case … that people continue to mistake us [Asian-Americans] for foreigners no matter how hard we assimilate and show our loyalty.”
Kim’s findings come at a time when Asian countries are predicted to overtake the U.S. economy. According to an earlier study by PriceWaterhouse Coopers, the Chinese economy will be bigger than America’s before 2030, while the Indian economy will perform similarly by 2050. The U.S., hence, will place third.
Further studies are necessary to draw more definitive conclusions. Nevertheless, Wu regards Kim’s study as proof of racial bias:
“This is real evidence. It reflects attitudes. This isn’t the result of random chance.”