Yet Another Professor Has Been Charged for Secretly Working With China

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Posted: Jul 09, 2020 11:15 PM
Yet Another Professor Has Been Charged for Secretly Working With China

Source: (Li Xueren/Xinhua via AP)

Another scientific researcher and Ohio State University professor has been charged in the United States after secretly working with China and illegally using taxpayer dollars to do so. 

According to the Department of Justice, Song Guo Zheng was arrested in May before attempting to board a charter flight from Anchorage, Alaska to China. With him, he carried "three large bags, one small suitcase and a briefcase containing two laptops, three cellular telephones, several USB drives, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, deeds for property in China and other items."

Zheng was a participant in China's Talent Plan, a program used by the Chinese Communist Party to recruit Americans and others around the world to steal intellectual property from their research institutes. He planned to use $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to increase China's knowledge in rheumatology and immunology. Zheng did not disclose his ties to China when he applied for the grant or during his work at Ohio State University. 

"Yet again, we are faced with a professor at a U.S. University, who is a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, allegedly and deliberately failing to disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and receipt of funds from the Chinese Government in order to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grant money designed to benefit the health and well-being of the people of the United States — not to be hijacked to supplement the research goals of the Chinese Communist Party,” Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers released in a statement. "This case, like too many others, should serve as a reminder that the United States Government takes seriously the obligation of truthfulness and transparency on grant applications, and those who violate the law to benefit China or any other foreign nation will be held accountable."

The FBI has investigations into Chinese espionage and intellectual property theft all over the country. This is one of them. 

"This case highlights another example of a Chinese Talent Plan member allegedly using U.S. taxpayer funds for the benefit of the Chinese government," Assistant Director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division Alan Kohler said about the case. "According to the criminal complaint, Zheng violated laws concerning the use of federal research funds and did not disclose his employment in China. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to stop such illegal activity and protect U.S. research."

According to U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio David DeVillers, Zheng tried to flee the United States after it became clear his employer was investigating the validity of his grant application process. 

“This is our office’s third recent case involving the illegal transfer of intellectual property and research to China. This underscores our commitment to work with the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and our research institutions to protect our country’s position as a global leader in research and innovation, and to punish those who try to exploit and undermine that position,” DeVillers said. 

During a speech at the Hudson Institute earlier this week, FBI Director Christopher Wray warned about China's continued attacks on the United States.