A professor on the Massachusetts Institute of Expertise who directs the college’s Micro/Nano Engineering Laboratory and its Stable-State Photo voltaic Thermal Power Conversion Middle, was arrested on 14 January for allegedly failing to report his ties to the Chinese language authorities and grant fraud. Gang Chen has been charged with wire fraud, in addition to not submitting a report on his overseas checking account in China and making a false assertion in a tax return, which collectively carries a jail sentence of as much as 30 years and $750,000 in fines.
Chen labored at MIT for about 20 years and his analysis has obtained greater than $19 million (£14 million) in funding from federal businesses since 2003, according to the US Department of Justice (DOJ). Chen, a naturalised US citizen who was born in China, has additionally apparently held contracts with the Chinese language authorities since 2012, together with appearing as an abroad professional, serving as a member of no less than two Chinese language expertise programmes – which goal to recruit science and expertise specialists from western universities and analysis institutes to work for China – and serving as an professional with the Nationwide Pure Science Basis of China.
General, Chen has allegedly obtained about $29 million of overseas funding, together with $19 million from the Southern College of Science and Expertise (SUSTech) in China, since 2013. As well as, the DOJ says he crammed a number of advisory roles for the Chinese language authorities and entities in China from no less than 2017 to 2019.
Moreover, Chen utilized for and obtained a grant from the US Division of Power (DOE) to finance a part of his analysis at MIT, and allegedly did not disclose these ongoing affiliations to the company, as he was required.
In a letter to the MIT community on the day of Chen’s arrest, the college’s president, Rafael Reif, known as him a ‘extensively revered scholar, trainer and member of our school.’ For many who know Chen, Reif mentioned, the information is ‘shocking, deeply distressing and arduous to grasp.’
MIT additionally issued an announcement saying it was ‘deeply distressed’ by Chen’s arrest. ‘MIT believes the integrity of analysis is a elementary accountability, and we take significantly considerations about improper affect in US analysis,’ the college mentioned. ‘Prof. Chen is a long-serving and extremely revered member of the analysis neighborhood, which makes the federal government’s allegations in opposition to him all of the extra distressing,’ MIT continued. ‘We’re not in a position to supply any additional info associated to the federal government’s grievance presently.’
In the meantime, Yi Rao – a Chinese language neurobiologist who’s presently at Peking College however studied within the US and held varied positions at US universities earlier than returning to China greater than a decade in the past – has written to Reif and MIT chancellor Maria Zuber to protest Chen’s arrest. He known as the motion ‘nothing however thinly veiled racism’, and warned that if MIT doesn’t assist Chen then the college will probably be ‘implicated in one of many worst circumstances of educational racism within the twenty first century.’ Rao went on say that such associations with China are ‘very regular in academia’, and that Chen’s reference to the SUSTech was identified to each Reif and Zuber.
Additional, he known as the cost that Chen didn’t disclose his associations with Chinese language entities on his DOE grant software ‘ridiculous’, suggesting that none of them had been associated to the actual analysis within the analysis proposal.
The matter goes past MIT. Researchers at US establishments with ties to China are increasingly being targeted, not only by the DOJ but also by the State Department and the universities themselves. Final yr, the top of Harvard College’s chemistry division, Charles Lieber, was arrested over his undisclosed ties to the Chinese government’s Thousand Talents programme. The Wuhan College of Expertise in China apparently paid him a month-to-month wage of $50,000, on prime of dwelling bills of roughly $158,000, and in addition awarded him greater than $1.5 million to ascertain a analysis lab there.