Xiaoxing Xi, a Temple University physics professor, asked a federal appeals court to reinstate his damage claims against the United States government after alleging he was wrongfully charged for selling technology to China in 2015.
“It is a very difficult fight for me, my wife, and my daughter to hold the government accountable for the wrong they did to us,” Xi wrote in a statement to The Temple News. “But we must do this because if they can violate our rights without any consequence, the lives of many more innocent people may be ruined like what happened to us.”
Xi originally filed the lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in May 2017, alleging FBI agents violated his rights by subjecting him to racial and ethnic profiling and unlawful searches and seizures. Nine of the 10 counts were dismissed in March 2021, and the final count – which regards FBI agents allegedly surveilling Xi’s communications without a warrant – is still pending.
In May 2015, a grand jury found Xi guilty of four counts of wire fraud after he shared the technology for a pocket heater from Superconductor Technologies Inc., a Texas superconductivity technology company, with entities in China.
A week later, FBI agents allegedly arrived on the doorstep of Xi’s home in Penn Valley, Pennsylvania, and arrested him while holding his wife and two daughters at gunpoint. He was then allegedly taken into FBI custody, where he was interrogated and strip-searched.
After the FBI’s investigation, Temple allegedly temporarily suspended Xi from his position as the interim chair of Temple’s physics department and kept him from accessing his lab and meeting with the graduate students he oversaw. The university reinstated Xi in September 2015 after the charges were dropped when he and his attorneys presented evidence he legally shared the information with entities in China.
“We will fight for as long as it takes, not just for ourselves, but for countless people who are being profiled by the Department of Justice because of their ethnicity or where they came from,” Xi wrote.