The United States has charged a Harvard professor and two other Boston based Chinese researchers for attempting to steal American scientific and technological advances, international media reported. Harvard department chair Charles Lieber was accused of lying about his connections while the other researchers were charged with being foreign agents.
Lieber has been accused of allegedly accepting $1m in grant money from the Chinese government. As per media reports, Lieber worked as a head investigator at Lieber research group at Harvard University and received over $15m in grants from the US National Institute of Health and the US Department of Defence. However, in 2011, the researcher joined the Wuhan University of technology as a scientist without Harvard’s knowledge. Form his role at Wuhan, he was given a monthly salary of $50,000, in addition to living expenses of up to $158,000.
Prosecutors also accused him of lying to the US Department of Defense about his role as a scientist in China. They added that Lieber made materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statements to the U.S. According to the court papers, he also participated in the Thousand Talents Plan, a programme that aims to attract foreign research specialists. The US has flagged the programme as a security concern in the past. Meanwhile, Harvard University has called the charges on him as ‘extremely serious.’
The other two Chinese researchers who were charged were Yanging Ye, a Boston University robotics researcher who was accused of concealing the fact that she was in the Chinese Army. She was accused of falsely identifying herself as a student and also continuing to work for the Chinese People’s Liberation Army while completing multiple assignments in America. The other was Zaosong, Zheng, a cancer researcher who was arrested at the Boston Logan International Airport with 21 vials of Biological samples in his bag. Prosecutors allege he was planning to return to China to continue his research there.