Chemistry Professor Charles Lieber was found quality on Tuesday of lying to federal investigators regarding his illicit ties to the communist regime.
The former Harvard professor was the chairman of the Ivy League school’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department, and was recruited by the Chinese government back in 2012, engaging in a clandestine operation without the knowledge of the university. The 62-year old educator became a paid “strategic scientist” for the communist regime, specifically for the Wuhan Institute of Technology in central China, and participated in Beijing’s “Thousand Talents Program” from 2012 to 2015.
The program was designed to recruit individuals from other countries with high-level knowledge of foreign technology and intellectual property who could report back to China.
The Wuhan Institute paid Professor Lieber $50,000 a month and over $150,000 additional for living expenses On top of that, they provided Lieber with more than $1.5 million dollars to establish a research lab.
Lieber’s research group at Harvard also received a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health and the Defense Department for more than $15 million dollars, but Lieber never disclosed he was working secretly for the Chinese government when applying for the grant. The professor also lied to the Internal Revenue Service about the money he was being paid by Beijing.
Acting US Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell said in a prepared statement, “There is now no question that Charles Lieber lied to federal investigators and to Harvard in an attempt to hide his participation in the Chinese Thousand Talents Program.
“He lied to the IRS about the money he was paid, and he concealed his Chinese bank account from the United States. The jury followed the evidence and the law to a just verdict.”
According to court records, Lieber was charged with one count of making false statements to a US government agency. After the verdict, US Attorney Andrew Lelling held a press conference and took to the podium in Boston, where Lieber was charged in federal court.
“This is not an accident or a coincidence. This is a small sample of China’s ongoing campaign to siphon off American know-how and technology for China’s gain,” Lelling added.
Lieber’s actions, dating back to 2011, also jeopardized the good name of Harvard University, putting the Ivy League school in the crosshairs of an initial investigation. The false statements made within the application process put the schools grant program at risk since all federal grants require disclosure of ties with foreign governments.
“The charges brought by the U.S. government against Professor Lieber are extremely serious. Harvard is cooperating with federal authorities, including the National Institutes of Health, and is conducting its own review of the alleged misconduct,” a Harvard rep told The Post in an email, adding that Lieber has been placed on “indefinite administrative leave”.
Professor Lieber isn’t the only academic being recruited by the communist regime for big bucks. Last year, a University of Kansas researcher named Franklin (Feng) Tao was also caught working incognito for a Chinese university, while simultaneously performing US-funded industrial research.
In another instance, a Chinese medical student in the U.S. attempted to smuggle highly sensitive medical research specimens back to China. The “student”, Zaosong Zheng, had been working at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston as a cancer researcher. He was nabbed at Logan International Airport last December attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research out of the country and trying to board a flight for China.