Hong Kong (CNN)Tensions between the United States and China have continued to ratchet up following the forced closure by Washington of Beijing’s consulate in Houston, amid revelations that federal prosecutors are seeking a Chinese scientist accused of visa fraud who they say is hiding out in China’s consulate in San Francisco.
Prosecutors allege Tang Juan, a researcher focusing on biology, lied about her connection to the Chinese military in order to obtain entry into the US and has since avoided arrest by taking refuge in the West Coast diplomatic mission.
According to court filings, Tang was charged on June 26 with one count of visa fraud. Prosecutors said she concealed her connection to the country’s military in her visa application, but investigators “discovered photographs of her in the uniform of the Civilian Cadre of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” and that she had been employed as a researcher at the Fourth Military Medical University (FMMU).
During an interview with FBI agents on June 20, “Tang denied serving in the Chinese military, claimed she did not know the meaning of the insignia on her uniform, and that wearing a military uniform was required for attendance at FMMU because it was a military school,” attorneys wrote in a July 20 court filing.
However, during a search of her residence and electronic media, FBI agents allegedly “found further evidence of Tang’s PLA affiliation.”
Following her interview with the bureau, Tang allegedly fled to the San Francisco consulate, “where the FBI assesses she has remained.”