Former Harvard Professor Charles Lieber was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday over allegations that he maintained an undisclosed financial relationship with the Chinese government by taking a position as a “Strategic Scientist” at the Wuhan University of Technology. The scheme is part of China’s “Thousand Talents” program, which sees to pay western academics to hand over research funded by the government of their home countries.
According to a report by CNBC, former Harvard Professor and Chemistry Department Chair Charles Lieber was indicted by a grand jury on Tuesday over allegations that he failed to disclose professional relationships with entities funded by the Chinese government.
Breitbart News reported in January that Lieber had been removed from his Harvard post and arrested on charges that he lied about his connections with the Chinese government. Lieber reported worked with China’s Thousand Talents program, which bribes American academics in exchange for access to taxpayer-funded research.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts on Tuesday claimed that Lieber worked with the Wuhan University of Technology on various scientific programs.
It is alleged that, unbeknownst to Harvard University, beginning in 2011, Lieber became a “Strategic Scientist” at Wuhan University of Technology (WUT) in China. He later became contractual participant in China’s Thousand Talents Plan from at least 2012 through 2015. China’s Thousand Talents Plan is one of the most prominent Chinese talent recruitment plans designed to attract, recruit, and cultivate high-level scientific talent in furtherance of China’s scientific development, economic prosperity and national security.
According to court documents, these talent recruitment plans seek to lure Chinese overseas talent and foreign experts to bring their knowledge and experience to China, and they often reward individuals for stealing proprietary information. Under the terms of Lieber’s three-year Thousand Talents contract, WUT allegedly paid Lieber a salary of up to $50,000 USD per month, living expenses of up to 1 million Chinese Yuan (approximately $158,000 USD at the time) and awarded him more than $1.5 million to establish a research lab at WUT.
Breitbart News reported in May that President Trump blocked Chinese scientists from work with American laboratories over concerns that they were working with the Thousands Talents program. Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) called for an investigation into China’s influence on campus in May.