While China Initiative may have ended, foreign influence remains DOJ enforcement priority

Reuters has published “While China Initiative may have ended, foreign influence remains DOJ enforcement priority,” an article by Akin Gump international trade senior counsel George Pence.

The article looks at the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) China Initiative, which offered resources to prosecutors investigating transfer of sensitive U.S. tech and information to the PRC government.

The article begins by outlining the ways in which the initiative broke down in the face of dropped high-profile suits, acquittal and civil rights protests.

Although DOJ ended the initiative last month, Pence writes that “there is good reason to believe DOJ will continue to pursue many of the goals of the China Initiative, and often by the same means — namely, criminal prosecution.”

He concludes, based on remarks by Assistant Attorney General for National Security Matthew Olsen, that they “suggest that DOJ's National Security Division, which has approval authority over some China-related charges, may exercise greater care in initiating criminal cases, focus on cases with a demonstrable nexus to the Chinese government or the Chinese Communist Party, and more expansively consider remedies other than criminal charges for alleged misconduct.”

The article then details the history of the China Initiative, the dismissed cases, and the initiative’s end before discussing its possible rebirth.

Pence closes by noting, “The bottom line is that the end of the China Initiative hardly signals the end of the federal focus on foreign influence. DOJ's ‘new approach’ to China, however, may result in prosecutors exercising greater care and caution before filing charges.”