Song Chen, a 38-year old visiting Stanford University researcher on a J-1 visa meant for work- and study-based exchange programs, supposedly as a neurologist interested in studying brain disease, has been charged with visa fraud for allegedly concealing her job as a member of the Chinese military. She is an attending physician in the neurology department at the PLA Air Force General Hospital. In her November 2018 application, Song Chen said she had served in the Chinese military from 2000-2011 and that she was currently employed by Xi Diaoyutai Hospital in Beijing. She entered the U.S. two days before Christmas 2018. But a statement released (July 20) by the U.S. Department of Justice stated that was a lie and an investigation by the FBI uncovered that she was really an active member of the military and the hospital story was just a cover. According to an affidavit, online research articles that listed her as a co-author suggest she is affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Air Force and that she was named as late as July 13 as an attending physician in the neurology department at the PLA Air Force General Hospital, which shares an address with the hospital listed on her visa application. On June 21 of this year, Song Chen also allegedly deleted a folder on her external hard drive labelled, in Chinese, “2018 Visiting School Important Information,” which included a letter she wrote to the Chinese Consulate in New York explaining that she was planning to extend her stay in the U.S. and that because the hospital listed on her original application was a false front, she had instead gotten approval to stay from the Chinese military. Song Chen faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. Stanford declined to answer questions about the allegations.  

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