DOJ Charges Researcher With Illegally Using U.S. Grant Funds to Develop Scientific Expertise for China

DOJ Charges Researcher With Illegally Using U.S. Grant Funds to Develop Scientific Expertise for China

The Department of Justice (DOJ) released a statement Thursday saying that a “rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond,” on charges of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was involved in a scheme to use National Institute of Health (NIH) grants to develop China’s expertise in rheumatology and immunology, as well as for making false statements about maintaining employment in China while he remained employed at U.S. universities, including Ohio State University.

According to the DOJ statement, Song Guo Zheng was arrested back in May, after arriving in Alaska on a charter flight and preparing to board another charter flight to China. At the time of arrest, he was carrying three large bags, one small suitcase and a briefcase with two laptops, three cell phones, several USB drives, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, and deeds for property in China, along with other things.

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said, “[Y]et again, we are faced with a professor at a U.S. University, who is a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, allegedly and deliberately failing to disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and receipt of funds from the Chinese Government in order to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grant money designed to benefit the health and well-being of the people of the United States — not to be hijacked to supplement the research goals of the Chinese Communist Party. This case, like too many others, should serve as a reminder that the United States Government takes seriously the obligation of truthfulness and transparency on grant applications, and those who violate the law to benefit China or any other foreign nation will be held accountable.”

Alan E. Kohler, Jr, Assistant Director of the FBI’s Counterintelligence Division, said that “[T]his case highlights another example of a Chinese Talent Plan member allegedly using U.S. taxpayer funds for the benefit of the Chinese government. According to the criminal complaint, Zheng violated laws concerning the use of federal research funds and did not disclose his employment in China. The FBI will continue to work with our partners to stop such illegal activity and protect U.S. research.”

David M. DeVillers, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio., said that “[W]e allege that Zheng was preparing to flee the country after he learned that his employer had begun an administrative process into whether or not he was complying with rules governing taxpayer-funded grants. This is our office’s third recent case involving the illegal transfer of intellectual property and research to China. This underscores our commitment to work with the FBI, the Department of Health and Human Services, and our research institutions to protect our country’s position as a global leader in research and innovation, and to punish those who try to exploit and undermine that position.”

FBI Cincinnati Special Agent in Charge Chris Hoffman said that, “[T]he taxpayers of the United States are the real victims when researchers defraud our government and exploit our system to benefit China. The cutting-edge technologies that are being developed in our country must be carefully protected from our foreign adversaries and the FBI will continue to work with our partners to safeguard these important innovations.”

This development is just the latest proof that the U.S. needs to understand that the Communist Chinese regime is the enemy, and is this era’s Soviet Union.

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