Chinese researcher who took refuge in San Francisco consulate in U.S. custody, officers say

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FILE PHOTO: Chinese and U.S. flags flutter near The Bund in Shanghai

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A Chinese researcher who took refuge from U.S. authorities at China’s consulate in San Francisco is now in American custody and is predicted to seem in court docket on Monday, U.S. Justice Department officers stated.

According to court docket filings in U.S. District Court in San Francisco this week, Juan Tang, who labored on the University of California, Davis, falsely claimed on her visa utility that she had not served within the Chinese navy. She was charged with visa fraud on June 26.

The Chinese embassy didn’t reply to a request for touch upon the case.

A senior Justice Department official informed reporters Tang was detained on Thursday evening and didn’t have diplomatic immunity as she was not declared as a diplomatic official.

The official stated Tang was a part of a community of associates who hid their navy affiliation when making use of for visas.

Lauren Horwood, the spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office within the Eastern District of California, stated in an e mail that Tang would seem in court docket on Monday in Sacramento. Previously, an official had stated Tang’s preliminary look was scheduled for Friday.

The researcher’s detention occurred amid a deterioration in U.S.-China relations. China on Friday ordered the United States to shut its consulate in Chengdu in response to a U.S. order for China to close its Houston consulate. [nL3N2EV0TW]

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis and Jane Lanhee Lee; modifying by Jonathan Oatis and Grant McCool)