The Department of Justice has charged the Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and two Chinese citizens with conspiracy, acting as agents of a foreign government, smuggling, visa fraud, and making false, fictitious and fraudulent statements according to a new, bombshell report.
Harvard professor Dr. Peter Lieber was arrested and charged for “materially false, fictitious and fraudulent statement” when he misrepresented his affiliation with a Chinese university, while Zaosong Zheng is believed to have stolen “21 vials of biological research”.
He is the Principal Investigator of the Lieber Research Group at Harvard University, a nanoscience focused effort that has received more than $15,000,000 in funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Department of Defense. These sizable grants would have required him to disclose “significant foreign financial conflicts of interest, including financial support from foreign governments or foreign entities.”
However, Lieber failed to accurately report his position as a “strategic scientist” at the Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) beginning in 2011 as well as participation in China’s Thousand Talents Plan, a recruitment program designed to poach august STEM researchers from prestigious universities to further China’s “scientific development, economic prosperity, and national security.”
WUT’s contract awarded Lieber $50,000 per month, an additional living expense of $158,000, and more than $1.5 million to operate a research facility. In exchange, he was expected to assist in “declaring international cooperation projects, cultivating young teachers and Ph.D. students, organizing international conference[s], applying for patents and publishing articles in the name of WUT.”
Despite this clear conflict of interest, Lieber retained his position at Harvard which authorities allege happened because he lied about to Harvard about his affiliations with WUT and the Thousand Talents Plan. Per NIH protocol, Lieber would not have received the research grants if he was beholden to a foreign country.
The second person charged in the report is Yanqing Ye, a lieutenant in the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) who falsified her visa status as “student” while being enrolled at a top military training academy run by the CCP.
Ye is also charged with being a CCP asset, “completing numerous assignments from PLA officers such as conducting research, assessing U.S. military websites and sending U.S. documents and information to China” at the request of PLA officials despite lying to authorities about having “minimal contact” with them.
The other alleged CCP spy masquerading as a student was identified by authorities as Zaosong Zheng. While he was conducting cancer-cell research at a Boston hospital, authorities believe he stole “21 vials of biological research and attempted to smuggle them” back to China to conduct his own research. While at the airport, he initially lied about possessing the valuable vials but later admitted to stealing them.
This report is just the latest development in China’s full-fledged assault on America’s intellectual property and comes just days after President Trump signed the Phase 1 China trade deal.
CCP spies infiltrating American universities is well-documented and corroborated by various U.S. intelligence agencies. STEM research is the paramount target of this extensive operation.