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Tipsheet

Chinese National Who Hid CCP Ties and Defrauded Taxpayer Grants Has Been 'Removed' by ICE

AP Photo/Andy Wong, FILE

Song Guo Zheng, a Chinese national with ties to the Chinese Communist Party who was convicted of defrauding the United States, was removed from the United States in February, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Friday. 

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Zheng, as Katie reported at the time, was arrested and charged in 2020 for making false statements to federal authorities as part of an immunology research fraud scheme. When he was arrested while trying to flee to China, he was caught "carrying three large bags, one small suitcase and a briefcase containing two laptops, three cell phones, several USB drives, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, deeds for property in China and other items."

All that information he was trying to bring back to China stems from his participation in China's "Talent Plan" which Katie explained is "a program used by the Chinese Communist Party to recruit Americans and others around the world to steal intellectual property from their research institutes." In Zheng's case, "he planned to use $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health to increase China's knowledge in rheumatology and immunology."

After pleading guilty to the charges, Zheng was ultimately sentenced in 2021 to 37 months in prison and "ordered to pay more than $3.4 million in restitution to the National Institute of Health (NIH) and approximately $413,000 to The Ohio State University."

In late 2022, while Zheng was serving his sentence in Federal Correctional Institution Elkton in Lisbon, Ohio, an immigration court ordered his removal. So on January 6, 2023, after Zheng was released from prison, ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) rearrested him and began the removal process that ended on February 17 when U.S. officials flew Zheng from Detroit International Airport to Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China, where they turned him over to local authorities.

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Zheng will, presumably, not face any real punishment in China given his tight connections with the CCP and the fact that he was working on their behalf to steal intellectual property and other information from the United States while robbing American taxpayers who funded his research with fraudulently obtained NIH grants. And, even though the laptops and information he was attempting to escape with in 2020 didn't make it out of the country, Zheng still has his memory and will be giving all he can remember to his CCP handlers now.

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