One researcher, of Chinese origin, pleaded guilty in court to stealing secret American medical research and selling it to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

Yu Zhou, a researcher at the National Research Institute at Ohio Children’s Hospital, detailed in his statement released Dec. 11 that the cutting-edge scientific trade secrets he stole are related to the research, identification, and treatment of a variety of pediatric medical conditions.

Both Zhou and his wife, researcher Li Chen, worked at the medical institution for nearly a decade.

In addition to the proceeds from selling the research, Zhou and his wife received other benefits from CCP agencies such as the State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

Zhou left the National Research Institute in 2017 and Chen followed in 2018. A year later, the couple was arrested in California.

In July 2020, Chen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to steal trade secrets and commit electronic fraud.

As part of their plea agreement, the couple agreed to forfeit the proceeds of the stolen investigation, including approximately $1.4 million, 500,000 shares of Avalon GloboCare Corp. common stock and 400 shares of GenExosome Technologies Inc. common stock.

The case of researcher Yu Zhou is just one of many that have been brought to justice for attempting to smuggle U.S. research into China.

In fact, the theft of research from U.S. universities and colleges by Chinese agents has been going on for decades. However, it was only under the Trump administration that authorities began investigating them and bringing them to justice and eventually convicting them.

According to College Fix, in May of this year, at least three significant events occurred. Song Guo Zheng, a former professor and researcher at Ohio State University, was arrested while attempting to flee the country with stolen laptops and USB drives. Simon Ang, director of the Center for High Density Electronics at the University of Arkansas, was arrested for his connections with China. And, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li of Emory University was sentenced to one year probation for failing to report at least $500,000 in income from Chinese universities.

A month later, Harvard University chemistry professor Charles Lieber was charged with making false statements about his participation in a CCP-sponsored talent recruitment program.

In August, UCLA researcher Guan Lei was arrested for destroying a hard drive during an FBI investigation into Chinese theft of sensitive software and technical data. 

In December 2019, former Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center researcher Zaosong Zheng attempted to smuggle stolen biological research out of the United States.

John C. Demers, assistant secretary of Justice for Homeland Security, said the Justice Department is working to stop the theft of research by CCP agents.

“China’s endemic efforts to rob, replicate, and replace products that they do not have the ability to develop themselves will not go unchecked, and those who seek to profit from the theft of trade secrets will be held accountable,” Demers said, according to a Dec. 11 Justice Department statement.

“The Chinese government [CCP] has created a large-scale, sophisticated system to steal American ingenuity,” U.S. Attorney David DeVillers said. “We will fight this system,” he said.