According to half a dozen U.S. officials, State Department leaders realized that pursuing a line of conduct similar to that which they had in Cuba – including the evacuation of missions in China – could cripple them. diplomatic and economic relations.
With Cuba, Mr. Trump sought to reverse President Barack Obama’s detente. Jeffrey DeLaurentis, chief of mission at the US embassy in Havana during the events, said the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw staff “coincidentally fits with their focus on Cuba.”
Those who fled China have spent more than two years fighting for the same benefits accorded to victims in Cuba and others attacked by foreign powers. The battles complicated their recovery and sparked retaliation from the government that could have definitely damaged their careers, according to interviews with more than 30 government officials, lawyers and doctors.
U.S. lawmakers have criticized what they call State Department secrecy and inaction and are pressuring the agency to release a study it received in August from the National Academies of Sciences, which has examined the potential causes of the episodes.
“These injuries and the subsequent treatment by the US government have been a nightmare for these dedicated public servants and their families,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat of New Hampshire. “It is obvious that an American adversary would have much to gain from the disorder, distress and division that followed.
Dr David A. Relman, a professor at Stanford University who is chairman of the National Academies of Science committee that reviewed the cases, said it was “disheartening and extremely frustrating” that the State Department had refused. to share the report with the public or Congress “for reasons that are beyond our control”.
In a statement, the department said that “the safety and security of American personnel, their families and American citizens is our top priority. The US government has yet to determine a cause or actor. “