U.S. charges MIT professor with failing to disclose Chinese ties when seeking grants
BOSTON (Reuters) – A mechanical engineering professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was arrested on U.S. charges that he failed to disclose his ties to the Chinese government when seeking federal grant money.
Federal prosecutors in Boston on Thursday charged Gang Chen, a Chinese-born mechanical engineer and nanotechnologist, with defrauding the U.S. Department of Energy when seeking grants and failing to disclose on a tax return a China-based bank account.
A representative for MIT did not respond immediately to requests for comment. An attorney for Chen also did not respond to a request for comment.
The case is the latest to emerge from a U.S. Justice Department crackdown on Chinese influence within universities amid concerns about spying and intellectual property theft by the Chinese government.
According to a criminal complaint, Chen was involved in various efforts to promote China’s technological and scientific development, including acting as an “overseas expert” for the Chinese government at the request of its New York consulate.
Prosecutors said that he also received money from various Chinese entities and helped review and assess grant applications for the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), which operates similarly to U.S. grant-funding agencies.
But prosecutors said he never disclosed his work for the NNSFC or other Chinese affiliations when he applied for grants from the Energy Department or even to his employer, MIT.
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