An engineering professor at the University of Arkansas faces up to 20 years in prison for allegedly concealing funds he received from China’s communist government.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the FBI arrested Simon Ang of the University of Arkansas on Friday.
On Monday, the feds charged him with wire fraud. According to authorities, Ang, an engineering professor, worked for and received money from Chinese companies and from the “Thousand Talents” program, which gives grants to scientists to “encourage relationships with the Chinese government.” Ang allegedly warned an associate to keep his ties with China quiet.
The Times details that Ang’s alleged decision to hide his connections with the Chinese government also allowed him to receive US government subsidies that would’ve otherwise been unavailable to him had he disclosed his affiliations.
DOJ: Engineering professor had close ties with CCP
The US Department of Justice charges that:
“...Ang had close ties with the Chinese government and Chinese companies, and failed to disclose those ties when required to do so in order to receive grant money from NASA.”
“These materially false representations to NASA and the University of Arkansas resulted in numerous wires to be sent and received that facilitated Ang’s scheme to defraud.”
The authorities became aware of his alleged connections with China after a library employee discovered an email correspondence between Ang and a Chinese researcher. Per the Arkansas Times, Ang reportedly wrote:
“You can search the Chinese website regarding what the US will do to Thousand Talent Scholars. Not many people here know I am one of them but if this leaks out, my job here will be in deep troubles.”
Thousand Talents: Professors received felony charges, thefts
Ang isn’t the only academic in trouble with the feds over the Thousand Talents program. Another professor, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li, formerly of Emory University in Atlanta, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of filing a false tax return that failed to disclose around $500,000 he received from the same Chinese program.
Professor Charles Lieber, the Chair of Harvard University’s Chemistry and Chemical Biology Department and two Chinese nationals were arrested and charged earlier this year in three separate cases involving the theft of biological research. Lieber was paid $50,000 a month from his three-year Thousand Talents contract and was given more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at the Wuhan University of Technology.
Stolen research sent to China
China’s Thousand Talents Program has recently come under scrutiny by officials concerned about spying and the theft of intellectual property, following a long history of high-profile incidents with stolen lab research making their way into Chinese labs.
According to Bloomberg, the program is part of “China’s so-called military-civil fusion strategy—in which the government employs resources, technologies, and people to advance both sectors simultaneously,” essentially turning US-based scientists into extensions of China’s scientific and military interests.