Margaret Lewis on ethnic profiling in the DOJ’s China Initiative


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This week on Sinica, Kaiser chats with Margaret (Maggie) Lewis, a professor of law at Seton Hall University, about her work on the U.S. Department of Justice’s “China Initiative.” Launched under former attorney general Jeff Sessions in November 2018, the China Initiative sought to bring criminal cases against perpetrators of industrial espionage benefiting China, but as Maggie argues, it has in fact resulted in discriminatory ethnic profiling and the criminalization of what she calls “China-ness.” Listen to the end to hear Kaiser’s impression of Cookie Monster as a death metal vocalist.

8:24: Viewing China as an existential threat

17:44: Where the framing and implementation of the China Initiative falls short

28:11: Prosecuting “China-ness”

37:38: The impact on American competitiveness


Maggie: What Do You Do With an Idea?, What Do You Do With a Problem?, and What Do You Do With a Chance?, by Kobi Yamada; also, Beautiful Oops!, by Barney Saltzberg. 

Kaiser: The album Blackwater Park, by the Swedish progressive metal band Opeth.