Former Harvard University Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department Chair Dr. Charles Lieber, who specializes in nanoscience, was indicted by a Grand Jury on several charges Tuesday after lying to federal authorities about his ties to China and the communist party's (CCP) "Thousand Talents Program." According to the indictment, Lieber was paid millions of dollars by the CCP to establish a lab in Wuhan.
From the DOJ (bolding is mine):
According to charging documents, since 2008, Dr. Lieber has served as the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, specializing in the area of nanoscience. Lieber’s research at the Lieber Research Group has been funded by more than $15 million in research grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense (DOD). Among other things, these grants required the disclosure of all sources of research support, potential financial conflicts of interest and all foreign collaboration.
It is alleged that, unbeknownst to Harvard University, beginning in 2011, Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China. He later became contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from at least 2012 through 2015. China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese talent recruitment plans designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security. According to court documents, these talent recruitment plans seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China, and they often reward individuals for stealing proprietary information.
Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT allegedly paid Lieber a salary of up to $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1 million Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT. In return, Lieber was obligated to work for WUT “not less than nine months a year” by “declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of [WUT].”
Lieber, along with two Chinese nationals, was charged by FBI agents in January for a series of federal crimes. In December 2019, one of the defendants, Chinese national Zaosong Zheng, was arrested "at Boston's Logan International Airport and charged by criminal complaint with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research to China."