US prosecutors recommend dropping case against MIT professor over ties to China -source – Community News
Us China

US prosecutors recommend dropping case against MIT professor over ties to China -source

Gang Chen, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, appears in this undated photo. Wen Zeng/MIT/Handout via REUTERS

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

BOSTON, Jan. 14 (Reuters) – Prosecutors have recommended that the US Department of Justice drop charges against a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor accused of hiding his ties to China while seeking federal grants, one person said. who was familiar with the matter Friday.

Federal prosecutors in Boston have decided to drop the case against Chinese-born mechanical engineer and nanotechnologist Gang Chen. It was the latest blow to a crackdown on Chinese influence within US research.

Boston prosecutors in recent weeks have recommended the case’s dismissal based on new information, the person said, adding that the Justice Department has not yet made a final decision.

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

He was accused of failing to disclose, among other things, that he served as an “overseas expert” for the Chinese government and served on the advisory board of Shenzhen’s Southern University of Science and Technology, or SUSTech, when he applied for an American Ministry of Energy subsidy.

But Brian Kelly, Chen’s attorney at Nixon Peabody, said last week that “nothing important was left out in his application and several of the government’s allegations were simply false.”

MIT President Rafael Reif has championed his $25 million SUSTech partnership as advancing MIT’s research mission. The faculty gathered in a letter around Chen last year and said the case against him defamed normal research activities.

Kelly and co-advisor Rob Fisher had no comment Friday. MIT declined to comment. Wyn Hornbuckle, a Justice Department spokesman, had no comment on Chen’s case.

The Wall Street Journal first reported the recommendation.

Chen was charged in January 2021 as part of the department’s “China Initiative” launched during former President Donald Trump’s administration to counter alleged Chinese economic espionage and research theft.

Targets included university researchers. A Harvard professor, Charles Lieber, was convicted last month of lying about his ties to a China-run recruiting program. He is expected to appeal.

Critics say the initiative cooled academic research and targeted Chinese researchers through racial profiling. And despite Harvard’s win, several other cases have failed.

A Tennessee professor was acquitted by a judge last year after a mistrial, and prosecutors dropped charges against six other investigators.

The administration of President Joe Biden has continued the initiative, although Hornbuckle said the Justice Department is reviewing its approach, a review to be completed in the coming weeks.

Rachael Rollins, the newly appointed U.S. attorney in Massachusetts, would not comment on whether prosecutors should stop filing China Initiative cases during a meeting with reporters on Thursday.

But she said that “the government will always look to prove our case on various counts.”

Register now for FREE unlimited access to

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by David Gregorio

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

About the author


Add Comment

Click here to post a comment