American scientist falsely accused of hiding ties to China acquitted
American scientist falsely accused of hiding ties to China acquitted

American scientist falsely accused of hiding ties to China acquitted

Washington, March 9 (IANS): Anming Hu, a nanotechnology researcher at the University of Tennessee who was falsely accused of hiding ties to China, has finally been acquitted after two years of trials, Nature reported.

Hu, a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent, had been working in the United States for more than four years when the FBI first interviewed him in 2018.

Nearly two years later, in February 2020, he was charged with fraud and making false statements about his affiliation with a Chinese university on applications for research grants submitted to NASA, the report said.

“It was the day I lost everything. I worked hard for years and it happened in minutes,” Hu was quoted as saying.

Following Hus’s indictment, the university suspended him, suspended his pay and fired him later after he lost his right to work in the United States. He was also placed under house arrest.

House arrest was part of the China initiative – a US government effort to counter economic espionage. It was often aimed at academic researchers so as not to reveal funds from China or partnerships with Chinese institutions.

Academic researchers and groups of civil liberties had called for the initiative to be shut down with the argument that it was racially profiled scientists.

On February 23 this year, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it effectively ended the China initiative and replaced it with a broader strategy covering China and several other countries, including Russia and North Korea.

Hu welcomed the end of the initiative, adding that he would like to see the government held accountable for his actions.

“I lost two years of my life,” he said. “Who takes the consequences of that?”

“It’s very painful in my heart. The memories are very hard,” Hu said.

Hu was under house arrest for more than a year while awaiting trial. During this time, he relied heavily on his denomination to bring him groceries – and even take out his trash – because he was not allowed to go outside, he said. With his wife and two of his children in Canada, he felt isolated and missed his family, the report said.

“It made me want to cry every night,” Hu said.

During his ordeal, Hu dived into unpaid work to help distract him while he waited for a trial.

He reviewed about 400 research articles and even wrote six research articles, including some on nanojoining – a technology used to connect nanometer-sized building blocks for the manufacture of nano-devices and systems.

He also finished writing a book on laser fabrication and 3D printing. But he fears the two-year gap in his laboratory research will be “catastrophic” for his career.

Following the House acquittal, UT Knoxville reinstated him as a full-time professor and gave him $ 300,000 to help resume his research, the report said.

But Hu says the university has not yet apologized to him.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.