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Editorial

Justice for Wen Ho Lee!

by staff |
October 1, 2000
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What happened to Dr. Wen Ho Lee was a crime. His jailers are the ones who belong behind bars.

He spent nine months in a maximum-security prison for one reason - he's Chinese-American.

Dr. Wen Ho Lee is a nuclear scientist who worked at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory in New Mexico. After claiming he was the most dangerous man in America, the government was suddenly content to settle for an agreement that released him with no fine, no further jail time and no probation.

Dr. Lee was held for nine months in solitary confinement under brutal conditions: he was underfed, and shackled when allowed out of his cell one hour a day for exercise.

The prosecution and media frenzy surrounding Wen Ho Lee exposed the pervasive, and often denied anti-Asian racism in the U.S. The FBI and media painted Dr. Lee as a cartoon-like character, the deceitful but bumbling Asian double agent of James Bond spy movies.

He was accused of spying for China based almost entirely on racial profiling. He was charged during a time that the Republicans and Democrats in Congress were wrangling over trade issues with China. He was used as an issue in that debate.

The government kept Dr. Lee in prison using secret evidence. This same kind of secret evidence prosecution has been used against Arab-Americans. This kind of undemocratic prosecution must be challenged everywhere it's used.

This outrage was met with resistance. It has sparked the largest Asian-American movement since the murder of Vincent Chen.

Those responsible for the persecution of Wen Ho Lee need to be held accountable. At a minimum President Clinton should pardon Dr. Lee -fully and immediately.

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