The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) accused a researcher of illegally using subsidized funds to develop scientific knowledge and sell the information to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), concealing his links to the Party.
Song Guo Zheng, 57, was trying to board a flight to China when he was arrested in Anchorage, Alaska, on May 22, according to a July 9 Justice Department statement.
Among his luggage were three large suitcases, one small suitcase, and a briefcase containing two laptops, three cellphones, several USB sticks, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, property deeds in China, and other items.
“Once again, we are confronted with an American university professor, a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, who allegedly and deliberately did not disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and the receipt of funds from the Chinese government [CCP] to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grants,” according to Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
Song obtained $4.1 million in grants from federal funds from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to conduct research in the areas of rheumatology and immunology.
He also enjoyed employment at several U.S. universities, including Ohio State University, for which he committed fraud in the statements submitted, by hiding his dependence on the CCP.
“This is the third recent case in our office involving the illegal transfer of intellectual property and research to China [the CCP],” said David M. DeVillers, attorney for the Southern District of Ohio.
Judge Elizabeth Preston Deavers denied bail for Zheng because he is a flight risk. His offenses could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.
According to a statement, Zheng has used research in the United States to benefit the CCP as a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, beginning in 2013.
Another arrest was that of former Emory University professor Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, sentenced for accepting at least $500,000 from the Chinese Communist Party, which he never reported on federal tax returns while applying for NIH research grants, according to the Daily Caller.
FBI Director Christopher A. Wray warned that espionage and information theft by the CCP is “the greatest threat” to the United States, and the number of investigations they are conducting for this cause exceeds 1,000.