Press Release

Press Release

Asian Americans Advancing Justice Supports Sherry Chen
in her Quest for Justice

For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Contact:  James Woo, Communications and Outreach Associate
Atlanta, GA –  Asian Americans Advancing Justice supports Xiafen “Sherry” Chen, a former National Weather Service hydrologist, as she seeks justice today in a hearing challenging her wrongful termination.

In 2014, Chen, a Chinese American scientist who worked for the U.S. National Weather Service, was falsely accused of spying for China and unjustly prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice.  After being painted as a national security threat and having her life turned upside down, all the charges against her were suddenly dropped. She received no explanation or apology. Instead, the government fired her from her job.
The federal government’s wrongful prosecution against Chen left her financially drained from legal fees and without her job and livelihood. Sherry Chen deserves to be made whole after the government's reckless actions.

Chen’s case is one in a string of cases where Chinese Americans were wrongfully accused of espionage, including Xiaoxing Xi, Guoqing Cao, and Shuyu Li. The continued lack of transparency or accountability from the federal government for criminalizing, surveilling and infringing on the rights of these individuals is unacceptable. Additionally, these cases fit in a concerning historical trend of the U.S. government unfairly targeting Chinese Americans as threats, from FBI targeting of Chinese Americans during the McCarthy era to the prosecution and solitary confinement of Wen Ho Lee.

Since Chen’s case was dropped in May 2015, we have called for an independent investigation into her case and others, provided a “Know Your Rights” guide to educate individuals who could be similarly targeted by law enforcement, and launched a "Scientists Not Spies” campaign to call for government accountability.

With the rising anti-immigrant rhetoric and continued profiling of communities of Color as national security concerns - notably the Asian American and Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim, and South Asian (AMEMSA) communities - we will continue to fight discriminatory actions and policies. Any unjust government surveillance or law enforcement targeting of our communities based on race, ethnicity, national origin, or religion should expect our resistance.

If you have an inquiry regarding an unexpected encounter, investigation or prosecution by the FBI or DOJ, you can contact our National Security & Civil Rights Staff Attorney Christina Sinha at or 415-848-7733.

Jessica Jinn, (213)
Michelle Boykins, (202) 296-2300
Brandon Lee, (773) 271-0899
James Woo, (404)
Tejal Mankad, (415) 848


Asian Americans Advancing Justice is a national affiliation of five leading organizations advocating for the civil and human rights of Asian Americans and other underserved communities to promote a fair and equitable society for all. The affiliation's members are: Advancing Justice - AAJC (Washington, D.C.),Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus (San Francisco), Advancing Justice - Los Angeles, Advancing Justice - Atlanta, and Advancing Justice - Chicago.

Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Atlanta (formerly Asian American Legal Advocacy Center or AALAC) is the first non-profit law center dedicated to Asian immigrants and refugees (“Asian Americans”) in the Southeast. Our goal is to engage, educate and empower under-represented Asian Americans to greater civic participation.
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