A professor at Texas A&M University was arrested for conspiracy, making false statements, and electronic fraud, in secret collaboration with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), according to the charges against him.
The criminal complaint pointed to Zhengdong Cheng, a 53-year-old engineering professor, and NASA researcher, for committing the crimes while conducting investigations at NASA, the Department of Justice (DOJ) reported on Aug. 24.
Cheng reportedly concealed his ties to the CCP, a Chinese university, and at least one CCP-regulated company by applying for and obtaining a research grant.
“The terms of Cheng’s grant prohibited participation, collaboration, or coordination with China, any Chinese-owned company, or any Chinese university,” the DOJ said.
It also added, “The Department of Justice will continue seeking to bring participation in these talent programs [the Thousand Talents program] to light and to expose the exploitation of our nation and our prized research institutions.”
The CCP promoted the Thousand Talents program, through which it infiltrated universities and companies, illegally hiring numerous prominent individuals in different branches of knowledge and industry, to obtain the fruit of their research or other American intellectual property assets.
“While 1.4 million foreign researchers and academics are here in the United States for the right reasons, the Chinese Talents Program exploits our open and free universities. These conflicts must be disclosed, and we will hold those accountable when such conflict violates the law,” said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Texas Ryan K. Patrick for the Southern District of Texas.
The FBI claims that CCP espionage is the greatest threat to the United States, as espionage cases investigated and arrests have increased at an unprecedented rate, according to Fox News.
FBI Director Christopher Wray reported on the nearly 2,000 investigations conducted by its 56 offices involving almost all industrial activities, according to the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Also, at least 54 scientists were fired from their jobs for not disclosing their financial ties to foreign governments. Meanwhile, U.S. universities, including Harvard and Yale, are under investigation for hiding the millions in income received from these sources.