BEIJING, CHINA - DECEMBER 04: Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao (R) accompanies U.S Vice President Joe Biden (L) listen to their national anthems during a welcoming ceremony inside the Great Hall of the People on December 4, 2013 in Beijing, China. U.S Vice President Joe Biden will pay an official visit to China from December 4 to 5. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Pool/Getty Images)

Biden DOJ Drops Charges Against MIT Scientist Allegedly Working For Chinese Communist Party.


President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice dropped charges against Gang Chen, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor indicted under the Trump administration for concealing financial ties to the Chinese Communist Party while receiving federal research grants from the U.S.

Federal prosecutors’ decision to drop the case follows the White House tapping another professor from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Elisabeth Reynolds, for a senior post on the National Economic Council (NEC).

The National Pulse has previously revealed Reynolds’s link to Chen beyond working for the same university: she attended a 2017 conference in China alongside Chen where MIT professors were advising the Chinese Communist Party on economic and technological developments.

state-run media outlet’s summary of the event also revealed that the conference speakers were extending their expertise to officials from Shanghai:

Organizers hope that local startups will be inspired or find some valuable technologies through the speeches, according to the district government. […] The Americans are giving guidance and suggestions to entrepreneurs and company officials based in Yangpu during the conference.

Shanghai officials ultimately “signed an agreement with MIT to act as a bridge between Yangpu-based companies and the MIT Industrial Liaison Program, which helps enterprises to find appropriate resources from the university’s five colleges and 33 departments.”

“The Yangpu government has ‘top level’ membership on the MIT program, while local companies can opt to pay a membership fee to have a ‘second membership,’ allowing them to seek help and suggestions from MIT professionals anytime,” the summary adds.

Under the Trump administration, the Department of Justice alleged that since 2012, Chen has acted as an “overseas expert” for the Chinese Communist Party at the request of the government’s New York Consulate and has received approximately $29 million in foreign funding.

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Despite working in the U.S. and receiving taxpayer dollars to fund his research, Gang Chen simultaneously was “promoting China’s technological and scientific development by providing advice and expertise — sometimes directly to Chinese government officials — and often in exchange for financial compensation,” according to the original charges.

“After a careful assessment of this new information in the context of all the evidence, our office has concluded that we can no longer meet our burden of proof at trial,” U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins, the top federal prosecutor in Massachusetts, said. “As prosecutors, we have an obligation in every matter we pursue to continually examine the facts while being open to receiving and uncovering new information.”

The dismissal also follows professors from Stanford University lobbying the DOJ to halt its “China Initiative”: a Trump-era program targeting Chinese Communist Party-linked academics exploiting American universities for intellectual property theft and espionage.

Natalie Winters

Natalie Winters is freelance reporter.

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