Wednesday, December 22, 2021

g-f(2)749 THE BIG PICTURE OF THE DIGITAL AGE (12/22/2021), WaPo, Harvard chemistry professor found guilty of hiding ties to China

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"g-f" fishing of golden knowledge (GK) of the fabulous treasure of the digital ageDigital Transformation, Lost intellectual property (12/22/2021)  g-f(2)426 

Warning, The Washington Post  

The Justice Department says China’s Thousand Talents program is an initiative designed to motivate experts in research and development to “transmit the knowledge and research they gain” in the United States to China. Participation in the program is not illegal; rather, Lieber’s charges centered on his false statements and concealment related to his involvement.

  • A jury in U.S. District Court in Boston found the professor, Charles Lieber, guilty on two counts of lying to federal authorities, two counts of falsifying tax returns and two counts of failing to report foreign finances.

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Lessons learned, WaPo 

      • Lieber, a former chair of Harvard’s chemistry department, had for three years worked as a “strategic scientist” at the Wuhan University of Technology in China as part of Beijing’s Thousand Talents recruitment program. As part of his contract from 2012 to 2015, according to an affidavit, the university in Wuhan paid Lieber a salary of as much as $50,000 per month, $150,000 in annual living expenses and grants of more than $1.5 million to create a research lab at the Chinese university.
      • A Chinese contract described him as a “high-level foreign expert,” and in exchanges with officials at the university in Wuhan, he specified how he preferred to receive his salary — half in U.S. dollars, “with the remainder deposited” into a Chinese bank account, he wrote in 2014, according to the affidavit.
      • In 2018, the Justice Department — then led by former attorney general Jeff Sessions under the Trump administration — launched what it called the “China Initiative” to target concerns of “economic espionage against the United States,” Sessions said at the time.
      • Under the Biden administration, the effort has continued despite concerns by civil rights activists that it has amounted to racial profiling, amid a rise in anti-Asian hate crimes in the United States. Some in academia have argued that the initiative has fueled fear and had a chilling effect in research communities.

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      Lessons learned, WaPo 

      • Lieber had said in the interview that he participated in the Chinese program not for the money, but for a chance at scientific recognition, according to the Globe. “Every scientist wants a Nobel Prize,” he said.
      • A sentencing date has yet to be set. The charges carry a combined prison time of up to 13 years, though it is unclear whether Lieber, who has cancer, will face a maximum sentence. Lieber has “a very advanced form of lymphoma,” Mukasey said in a status conference in March. “His body is self-destructing,” Mukasey said, adding that Lieber’s scans were “lighted up with cancer.”

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