Re­searchers take funds, ex­per­tise

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

in the fed­eral gov­ern­ment have only re­cently be­gun in­ves­ti­gat­ing and putting the uni­ver­si­ties on no­tice,” he told The Wash­ing­ton Times.

In June, the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health said it re­ferred to a gov­ern­ment watch­dog 16 ac­cu­sa­tions re­lated to for­eign in­flu­ence of U.S.-funded re­search. It also said it has raised sim­i­lar con­cerns with 61 re­search in­sti­tu­tions.

Ear­lier this year, Vir­ginia Tech pro­fes­sor Yi­heng Per­ci­val Zhang was con­victed of grant fraud for col­lect­ing fed­eral fund­ing for re­search he had al­ready com­pleted in China.

In the Kansas and Vir­ginia Tech cases, the pro­fes­sors were linked to China’s Thou­sand Tal­ents Plan. Bei­jing says the plan is a way to keep con­nec­tions with sci­en­tists who have left China to do re­search else­where, but the U.S. gov­ern­ment says it is a con­duit to pil­fer in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty and tech­nol­ogy.

FBI Direc­tor Christo­pher A. Wray sin­gled out China’s Thou­sand Tal­ents Plan dur­ing testimony to the Se­nate last month. While ac­knowl­edg­ing the plan isn’t in­her­ently il­le­gal, Mr. Wray said FBI in­ves­ti­ga­tions have un­cov­ered cases in which it was used to flow U.S. in­tel­lec­tual prop­erty to China.

“The irony is that the U.S. is es­sen­tially fund­ing that eco­nomic resur­gence through var­i­ous money it pro­vides through grants, etc.,” he said. “I think we need to be a lit­tle bit care­ful that we don’t find our­selves in a sit­u­a­tion where U.S. tax­payer money is be­ing mis­ap­pro­pri­ated for the ad­vance­ment of China’s eco­nomic dom­i­nance over us.”

In May, the FBI ar­rested a former sci­en­tist at the Los Alamos Na­tional Lab­o­ra­tory in New Mex­ico on sus­pi­cion of ly­ing about his in­volve­ment in the Thou­sand Tal­ents Plan.

Fed­eral prose­cu­tors say Turab Look­man made false state­ments about his par­tic­i­pa­tion in the tal­ent pro­gram to fed­eral in­ves­ti­ga­tors dur­ing a back­ground check and on a 2017 em­ploy­ment ques­tion­naire. He has pleaded not guilty. A month later, the En­ergy Depart­ment banned its em­ploy­ees from par­tic­i­pat­ing in the pro­gram.

Chi­nese and Chi­nese Amer­i­can re­searchers said the crack­down amounts to racial profiling. They say un­fair tar­get­ing by the FBI and oth­ers could lead to a “brain drain” be­cause top re­searchers would shy away from the U.S.

In May 2015, the FBI ar­rested Xi Xiaox­ing, a re­searcher at Tem­ple Univer­sity ac­cused of shar­ing Amer­i­can tech­nol­ogy

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