U.S. government concerns about alleged intellectual property theft are driving what feels to many Chinese scientists and engineers like a witch-hunt. A string of actions—the arrest of Chinese-born American scientists, the firing of several others and closure of their labs, frequent FBI calls and visits to many individuals without any charge, and a tightened visa process for Chinese STEM students—have shocked the Chinese science and technology community, raising concerns about racial profiling. What is the new reality for the Chinese science and technology community? And how to legally navigate the storm? Is it okay to do research both here in the U.S. and also in China? What is the guideline for academic and entrepreneurial exchange and cooperation? Is the U.S. government being paranoid, or are the spying concerns valid? Join Temple University Professor Xiaoxing Xi, who was charged by the Justice Department for spying (the charge was dropped and he is suing the FBI), Peter Zeidenberg, partner at Arent Fox LLP, Aaron Wolfson, former prosecutor and current partner at King & Wood Mallesons law firm for a timely discussion of the perils of being a Chinese scientist or engineer in the U.S.
Aaron Wolfson is a New York partner in Dispute Resolution & Litigation group specializing in financial crimes compliance. Mr. Wolfson represents clients nationally and internationally in a variety of matters, including white-collar criminal cases, administrative enforcement matters, trade-related due diligence, complex financial disputes, internal investigations, entity list designations, and corporate compliance issues.
Mr. Wolfson has extensive public and private sector experience. As a prosecutor in the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, he led numerous investigations and prosecutions of global financial institutions, for violations of U.S. sanctions laws. He also served as a Trial Attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, where he was a member of a trial team that prosecuted fraud and price fixing in the municipal bond industry. Mr. Wolfson also held senior positions in a global investment bank’s Anti-Money Laundering and Economic Sanctions programs.
Mr. Wolfson represents clients in U.S. state and federal court in white collar defense and civil litigation matters. Mr. Wolfson also practices in front of both regulatory and criminal justice agencies, including OFAC, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
In 2009, Mr. Wolfson was honored with the “Department of Justice National Asset Forfeiture Award for Outstanding Investigation” award. In 2010, he was awarded the Department of Justice Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service.”
Xiaoxing Xi is Laura H. Carnell Professor of Physics at Temple University, and former chair of the Physics Department. Prior to joining Temple in 2009, he was a Professor of Physics and Materials Science and Engineering at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. degree in physics from Peking University and Institute of Physics, Chinese Academy of Science, in 1987. After several years of research at Karlsruhe Nuclear Research Center, Germany, Bell Communication Research/Rutgers University, and the University of Maryland, he joined the Physics faculty at Penn State in 1995. His research focuses on the materials physics of oxide, boride, and 2-dimensional dichalcogenide thin films. His notable contributions include early work on epitaxial thin films, heterostructures, and electric-field effect in high-temperature superconductors, pioneering work on lattice dynamics in ferroelectric thin films and nanostructures, the invention of hybrid physical-chemical vapor deposition for magnesium diboride, and development of atomic layer-by-layer laser molecular beam epitaxy for oxide thin films and interfaces. He is an author of over 340 refereed journal articles and 3 U.S. patents in the area of thin films of high-Tc superconductors and magnesium diboride. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Born in Beijing, China, Professor Xi is a naturalized American citizen. In 2015, the U.S. government arrested and charged him for sharing a U.S. company technology with China. The charges were later dropped because they were false. Since then, he has spoken out for civic engagement by the Chinese-American community and the scientific community, and against racial profiling.
Peter R. Zeidenberg is Partner at Arent Fox LLP. His practice includes the representation of scientists and other individuals and business organizations accused of government contracting and procurement fraud, theft of trade secrets, economic espionage, export violations, espionage-related offenses, computer crimes, the False Claims Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He has experience in conducting internal investigations and counseling companies and organizations responding to government enforcement threats. His work in such matters includes grand jury investigations, administrative subpoenas, and Congressional investigations.
Prior to joining Arent Fox, Peter was a partner at an international law firm where he represented businesses and individuals threatened with government investigations. Before working at that firm, he spent 17 years as a federal prosecutor at the Justice Department, where he served in both the Public Integrity Section of the Criminal Division and at the United States Attorney’s Office in the District of Columbia. While Peter was at the DOJ, he investigated and prosecuted local, state, and federal officials. His trial experience included some of the DOJ’s highest-profile criminal cases. One of these cases involved Peter’s service as a Deputy Special Counsel in the investigation and prosecution of Lewis “Scooter” Libby. While at the Public Integrity Section, Peter was also responsible for the prosecution of David Safavian, in which the former Chief of Staff of the General Services Administration (GSA) was tried for obstruction of justice and false statements in connection with the Jack Abramoff investigation.
Ruth Jin is a founding partner of Jin & Koppell PLLC. She has 15 years of experience in corporate and securities laws, especially involving cross-border transactions. She regularly represents corporations for equity/debt securities offering, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and general corporate matters. Ruth’s clients range from entrepreneurs and emerging companies to Fortune 500 companies, including China Asset Management, JD Finance and Ding Yifeng International. She advises businesses through all stages of growth from start-up right through to public offering and counsels on the ongoing legal compliance and periodic reporting obligations.
Prior to founding Jin & Koppell with former New York Attorney General, Mr. Oliver Koppell, she worked at the corporate law departments of such major law firms as Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and McKee Nelson LLP.
Ruth is a graduate of Peking University Law School, University of Tokyo Law School and Georgetown Law Center. Ruth was a fellow of the Institute of International Economic Law in Washington, D.C. from 2003 to 2004. Ruth is fluent in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English, and she can also read French. She has been the Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Peking University Alumni Association of Greater New York since 2017.
Ruth is admitted to practice law in the State of New York and District Columbia.
Yiguang Ju is the Robert Porter Patterson Professor and the Director of Sustainable Energy Program at Princeton University. He received his bachelor degree from Tsinghua University in 1986, and his PhD degree in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from Tohoku University (Japan) in 1994. He was appointed as an Assistant and Associate Professor at Tohoku University from 1995 to 1999, and as a Chang-Jiang Professor and the Director of Thermo-physics Institute at Tsinghua University in 2000. He joined Princeton University in 2001. Ju’s research interests include energy, aerospace, and propulsion. He is serving as the chair of the US Sections of the Combustion Institute and a Board Member of The Combustion Institute and The Institute for the Dynamics of Explosions and Reactive Systems. He served in the NASA Rocket Study Committee and the NASA National Academies of Sciences Committee for Midterm Assessment of Implementation of NASA Life and Physical Sciences Research. He is a Deputy/Associate Editor of Proceedings of Combustion Institute, AIAA Journal, Combustion Science and Technology, Frontiers in Energy. He received many honors such as the Bessel Research Award from von Humboldt Foundation, NASA Director’s Appreciation Award, the International Prize of Japanese Combustion Society, and the Karl H. Walther Award.