While US Secretary of State Antony Blinken flies around the world criticising other countries’ violations of human rights, his government has been busy persecuting journalists and whistle-blowers for exposing atrocities committed by the American military. As his department questions the use of Hong Kong’s national security law to convict Leon Tong Ying-kit, 24, for incitement and terrorism, the US Justice Department has been scapegoating ethnic Chinese scientists and engineers, and Chinese students, for industrial espionage and intellectual property theft. The department’s “China Initiative” has more than a whiff of 1950s McCarthyism, except this time, it’s not just anti-communist but also racially driven. Under the initiative, launched in 2018, FBI director Christopher Wray told Fox News last year that there were more than 2,000 active investigations. Rory Truex, an assistant professor at Princeton University, has looked into the China Initiative. In an updated paper, “Addressing the China Challenge for American Universities”, he concludes: “After 20 months of ongoing investigations in 2019 and 2020, the ‘China Initiative’ – a Department of Justice (DOJ) effort – had brought formal charges at only 10 US universities or research institutions, and only three cases involved any evidence of espionage, theft, or transfer of intellectual property. “Given that there are about 107,000 Chinese citizens in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at US universities at the graduate level or above, current DOJ charges imply a criminality rate in this population of 0.0000934, less than 1/10,000.” Typically, after failing to charge those targeted with spying and IP theft, investigators save face by going after some with wire fraud and/or making false statements, as with the case of Hu Anming, a former University of Tennessee tenured engineering professor. Meanwhile, drone warfare whistle-blower Daniel Hale has been jailed for 45 months. His crimes? He leaked classified documents that exposed the US drone killings of more than 200 people, only 35 of them were the intended targets, between January 2012 and February 2013, in Afghanistan. In one five-month period, one document shows, nearly 90 per cent of the people killed were not the intended targets. However, the civilian dead were labelled as “enemies killed in action”. Another fellow whistle-blower who has the unlikely name of Reality Winner, was recently released from a five-year sentence for leaking a secret report about alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election. Given such records, as America’s top diplomat, you have to commend Blinken for always keeping a straight face.