Alert - Another Questionable Indictment
On August 21, 2019, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the indictment of Professor Feng “Franklin” Tao (陶丰), a professor at Kansas University for failing to disclose conflict of interest with Fuzhou University in China. Several individuals associated with APA Justice quickly searched the Internet and raised the following questions and observations:
Why is the DOJ National Security Division involved in announcing a case of conflict of interest in employment? It is likely that Professor Tao’s case started as one of the over 1,000 reported FBI investigations on intellectual property thefts. What would spur the inspiration for the FBI and DOJ to go there in the first place? Would the FBI and DOJ have thought to make that inquiry for someone white working for a U.S university and a Chinese one at the same time?
What is the Changjiang Scholars Program? Has it threatened U.S. national security? The Changjiang Scholar program was started in China in 1998. Selection of Changjiang Scholars is made public each year since its beginning. The Ministry of Education (MOE) of China announced a list of 463 candidates on January 5, 2018, and selected Professor Tao as the first-ever Changjiang Scholar at Fuzhou University on May 18, 2018.
Was there prima facie criminal intent for Professor Tao to deceive? The MOE announcement identified Professor Tao’s affiliation with Kansas University. He is publicly listed as a faculty member at Fuzhou University. Professor Tao’s publications such as this November 2018 paper in the National Library of Medicine under the National Institute of Health identifies himself as affiliated with both Fuzhou University and Kansas University.
The indictment of Professor Tao resembles closely the cases of Dr. Chunzai Wang and Professor Ning Xi as profiling victims and raises further questions about the concerns of a secret blacklist under S. 2133 Secure American Research Act of 2019.
We will be monitoring this case closely: USA v. Tao, 2:19-cr-20052, U.S. District Court, District of Kansas (Kansas City).
为什么司法部的国家安全部门参与宣布这起就业利益冲突案件？ 陶教授的案件可能是目前1,000多起FBI有关知识产权盗窃调查之一。 什么会刺激FBI和DOJ首先这方面的灵感？ 美国联邦调查局和司法部是否会考虑同时为美国大学和中国大学工作的白人进行调查？
什么是长江学者计划？ 它是否威胁到美国的国家安全？ 长江学者计划于1998年在中国启动。每年选拔长江学者都是公开公佈。 中国教育部（MOE）于2018年1月5日公布了463名候选人名单，并于2018年5月18日选举陶教授为福州大学首位长江学者。
陶教授是否有欺骗性的犯罪意图？ 中国教育部的公告明确显示陶教授与堪萨斯大学的关系。 福州大学公开列他于教师名录。 陶教授的出版文章，例如2018年11月在国立卫生研究院国家医学图书馆发表的论文，都表明自己隶属于福州大学和堪萨斯大学。
陶教授的起诉与王春在博士和席宁教授的种族定性案件密切相似，并对 S.2133 《美国安全研究法案》的秘密黑名单提议表示更进一步的质疑关切。
Additonal Links and Reports
2019/09/23 环球科学: 华人化学家因“隐瞒在华全职工作”在美遭四项指控
2019/08/22 Financial Times中文网: US indicts Chinese professor over alleged lack of disclosure
2019/08/22 Souch China Morning Post: US charges Kansas researcher Feng ‘Franklin’ Tao over ties to Chinese university
2019/08/21 KMBC9 News: KU researcher charged with failing to disclose conflict of interest with Chinese university
2019/08/21 Bloomberg: U.S. Says Scientist Hid Job in China. Web Search Tells Otherwise
2019/08/21 Department of Justice: University of Kansas Researcher Indicted for Fraud for Failing to Disclose Conflict of Interest with Chinese University
More Case Dismissed – This Time a Former MSU Professor
On February 15, 2018, Professor Ning Xi (席宁), a world-renowned expert in robotics, was arrested and charged by the U.S. government for defrauding Michigan State University (MSU) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) with false expense claims of hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was indicted on October 24, 2018.
On July 11, 2019, the U.S. District Court Chief Judge for the Western District of Michigan ordered the dismissal of the Xi case with prejudice. The government filed a motion to dismiss the indictment “for the reason that the jury deadlocked after an eight-day trial and the Government does not reasonably expect that the proofs would meaningfully change in a retrial of this matter or that retrial would produce a different result.”
According to media report, Professor Xi, a Chinese national and U.S. permanent resident, started work at MSU in 1997. He then served as the founding head of the department of mechanical and biomedical engineering at City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) between 2011 and 2013 but returned to MSU the following year. He resigned from MSU in 2015.
According to the indictment and media reports, MSU had alleged Xi violated its policy by accepting a second tenured position at CUHK, and said he was uncooperative when confronted. MSU and IEEE then reviewed Xi’s travel reimbursements and alleged that many were fabricated. Professor Xi's lawyer wrote in a statement that "Dr. Xi submitted travel reimbursement requests to MSU and IEEE for the sole purpose of being reimbursed for air travel expenses that he incurred as a result of his MSU and IEEE-related travel.”
Hong Kong University announced in January 2016 that Professor Xi became its new Chair Professor of Robotics and Automation. Prof. Xi has published more than four hundred technical papers in professional journals and conferences.
席宁教授，一位世界知名的机器人专家。2018年2月15日，席宁教授由于被美国政府指控诈骗密歇根州立大学 (MSU) 和电气和电子工程师学会 (IEEE) 数十万美元的报销费用而遭到逮捕。他于2018年10月24日被起诉。
Additional Links and Reports
2019/07/27 cnBETA: 席宁案真相大白 美国永久撤销对其的欺诈指控
2019/07/26 多维新闻: 华人科学家席宁案水落石出 美永久撤销指控[图]
2019/07/25 科技日报: 美永久撤销对席宁的欺诈指控，炮制冤案频被打脸，FBI怎么了？
2019/07/20 MLive.com: Ex-MSU professor, world-renowned robotics expert cleared of wire fraud
2019/07/11 U.S. District Court: Order to Dismiss 1:18-cr-00226-RJJ – USA vs Ning Xi
2018/10/24 U.S. District Court: Indictment 1:18-cr-00226-RJJ – USA vs Ning Xi
2018/02/23 The South China Morning Post: HKU professor and robotics expert held in custody in United States over fraud charges
2018/02/22 The Standard: HKU robotics expert Ning Xi arrested for US$420,000 expenses fraud
Another Bungled Economic Espionage Prosecution
On July 17, 2019, law.com published a commentary titled: “Daily Dicta: Prosecutions Don’t get much More Pathetic Than This Case Against a Louisiana Scientist.”
“This case” refers to the prosecution of Dr. Ehab Meselhe, a prominent Egyptian American professor of the Department of River-Coastal Science and Engineering at Tulane University. There is a second defendant in the case, Mr. Kelin Hu (胡克林), a computer scientist and research assistant professor at Tulane University who is a U.S. permanent resident born in China.
Both men were charged by the U.S. government for conspiracy and attempt to steal trade secrets (a computer simulation program that models how the Mississippi River Delta might evolve due to environmental changes and projects the impact of proposed restoration efforts) and to commit computer fraud and abuse on May 29, 2019 (case number 3:19-cr-00061). According to a media report, Mr. Hu was dramatically escorted from the Water Institute of the Gulf building by Baton Rouge police officers and FBI agents.
After the U.S. government admitted that “it cannot meet its burden of proof in this matter” on July 15, the case was dismissed by the Louisiana Middle District Court. “I was a federal prosecutor for 20 years in New Orleans, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Dr. Meselhe's lawyer.
FBI Director Christopher Wray has testified Monday in Congress that The FBI has over 1,000 investigations open into attempted intellectual property theft, nearly all of them involving Chinese.
“本案”指的是对杜兰大学河滨科学与工程系著名美籍埃及裔教授Dr. Ehab Meselhe 梅塞尔赫博士的起诉。此案的另一名被告Mr. Kelin Hu (胡克林)是一名计算机科学家，杜兰大学研究助理教授，也是出生在中国的美国永久居民。
Additional Links and Reports
2019/07/17 Law.com: Daily Dicta: Prosecutions Don’t Get Much More Pathetic Than This Case Against a Louisiana Scientist
2019/07/16 Tulane University: Statement on Professor Ehab Meselhe and Research Assistant Professor Kelin Hu
2019/07/15 NOLA.com: In stunning reversal, charges dropped against Louisiana coastal scientists accused of stealing 'trade secrets'
2019/07/15 U.S. Department of Justice: Motion to Dismiss Case 3:19-cr-00061 USA v Meselhe and Hu
2019/07/02 Business Report: Indicted coastal researcher fires back at feds, sues TWIG over records request
2019/07/01 NOLA.com: Shock waves from Water Institute: How criminal case over disputed 'trade secrets' hits Louisiana
2019/06/05 The Advocate: Ex-Water Institute employees now at Tulane accused of plotting to steal trade secrets
More details about this case and all known prosecutions under the Economic Espionage Act since its enactment are available are at https://jeremy-wu.info/fed-cases/
U.S. Targeting of Chinese Scientists Fuels a Brain Drain
On July 18, 2019, Bloomberg reported on the story of Xin Zhao, a prize-winning Ph.D. from the College of William & Mary in Virginia, whose startup fled the U.S. after a federal investigation that included a failed sting, airport stops and an unfounded child-porn search.
“My dream was defeated,” says Zhao, whose crew-cut and boyish face belie the brash candor with which he tells his story. “I came here for freedom and security. Now fear is pushing us back to China.”
Inventors with Chinese last names account for one out of every 10 new patents in the U.S. today, up from less than 2% in 1975... While China lost more than 50,000 inventors to emigration from 2002 to 2011, the U.S. welcomed a net gain of more than 190,000, as measured by patent registrations, according to data compiled by the World Intellectual Property Organization, an arm of the United Nations.
2019/07/18 星島日報 華裔科學家頻遭針對 科研生態受創難重建
How NOT To Cure Cancer:
The U.S. is purging Chinese scientists in a new Red Scare
On June 13, 2019 Bloomberg Businessweek published The U.S. Is Purging Chinese Cancer Researchers From Top Institutions . The NIH and the FBI are targeting ethnic Chinese scientists, including U.S. citizens, searching for a cancer cure. It includes the first account of what happened to Xifeng Wu, .
Additional Links and Reports
2019/07/19 Science: Mystery surrounds ouster of Chinese researchers from Canadian laboratory
2019/07/18 Bloomberg: U.S. Targeting of Chinese Scientists Fuels a Brain Drain
2019/07/16 The Telegraph: Chinese researchers stripped of security clearance at Canada lab for deadly human diseases
2019/07/15 National Post: Dismissal and investigation by RCMP of Winnipeg co-inventor of Ebola drug stuns colleagues
2019/07/12 Bloomberg: How the U.S. Is Purging Chinese Americans From Cancer Research
2019/06/14 北美新视界: 红色警戒 | 吴息凤的遭遇以及美国顶级科研机构对涉中研究人员的清理
2019/06/14 Clean Technica: FBI & NIH Demonize Chinese Researchers As Trump-Inspired Paranoia Spreads Across America
2019/06/14 《知识分子中文报道》: 美媒揭秘FBI等如何以“莫须有”围剿华人科学家
Department of Energy Policy Change and Directives
On June 13, 2019, The American Institute of Physics (AIP) reported that "The Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a directive prohibiting its employees and most contractor personnel from participating in certain talent recruitment programs operated by rival nations." DOE officials have said the policy is currently limited to four: China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
AIP first reported "US Government Escalates Opposition to Chinese Talent Recruitment Programs" in February 2019, including a link to a January 31, 2019 DOE memorandum.
Links and Reports
2019/06/11 Physics World: US energy department cracks down on foreign recruitment programmes
2019/06/07 The Scientist: US-China Tensions Leave Some Researchers on Edge
2019/06/02 AP: At LANL, political pawn or security risk?
2019/05/28 Science: Former Los Alamos physicist denies federal charges he lied about China ties
2019/05/28 South China Morning Post: US scientist Turab Lookman pleads not guilty to lying about contact with Chinese state programme that recruits foreign talent
2019/05/28 Albuquerque Journal: LANL scientist pleads not guilty to lying about contacts
2019/05/24 Albuquerque Journal: Former LANL scientist charged with lying
Tarub Lookman - Retired Los Alamos Physicist
On May 22, a federal grand jury indicted Tarub Lookman, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Indian origin, on three charges of making false statements about his contacts with the Thousand Talents Program, which since 2008 has used offers of salaries and other support to establish ties with scientists working outside of China.
According to Science, Dr. Lookman spent 2 decades at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico, beginning in 1999. He has a doctorate in theoretical physics and was awarded a prestigious LANL fellowship in 2017.
On May 28, Dr. Lookman pleaded not guilty to the federal charges. He was released to home detention with a GPS monitoring bracelet after posting a $50,000 bond.
IEEE Lifts Restrictions on Editorial and Peer Review Activities
On My 22, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) issued a statement that forbids its colleagues from Huawei and 68 of its affiliates from reviewing or accessing non-public papers submitted by other persons for publications; purchasing IEEE products such as hats, sweatshirts, or even coffee mugs; or participating in any non-public meetings that involve technical discussions.
On June 2, 2019, IEEE issued an update statement reversing its restrictions on editorial and peer review activities.
According to IEEE, after the U.S. Department of Commerce applied export control restrictions to Huawei Technology Ltd. and 68 of its affiliates, IEEE issued a statement regarding compliance and stated if the U.S. government clarified the application of the U.S. Export Administration Regulations with respect to peer review IEEE would provide an update to the IEEE community.
"IEEE has received the requested clarification from the U.S. Department of Commerce on the applicability of these export control restrictions to IEEE’s publication activities. Based on this new information, employees of Huawei and its affiliates may participate as peer reviewers and editors in our publication process. All IEEE members, regardless of employer, can continue to participate in all of the activities of the IEEE."
According to IEEE, it is the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
Links and Reports
2019/06/03 Financial Times: Top industry standards body reverses Huawei ban
2019/06/02 Reuters: U.S.-based engineers' body lifts curbs on Huawei employees
2019/06/02 ZDNet: No ban: IEEE gives Huawei employees the all-clear
2019/05/31 South China Morning Post: China computer research body cuts ties with IEEE in protest at decision to bar Huawei from peer review
2019/05/30 South China Morning Post: World’s largest technical professional society bans Huawei staff from peer review of research
2019/05/29 Synced: ML Community Raises Inclusivity Concerns After IEEE Bars Huawei Paper Reviewers
This May 29 essay titled "My Science Has No Nationality" by a young Chinese American female physicist describes the plight of many of today's Chinese American scientists in these challenging times between the U.S. and China.
"For Chinese scientists who immigrated to the U.S., where do their hearts and bodies belong? In their home country, where an authoritarian government is increasing its hold on society, aided by technology for surveillance and censorship? Or in a country whose president actively rejects them, where they are painted as spies?"
Emory University School of Medicine
On May 23, 2019, Yahoo Finance reported that a husband-and-wife team of two Chinese American professors at Emory University were fired for failing to disclose research fundings from China and their work for Chinese universities while receiving federal grants from the U.S. government. Both Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li and his wife Dr. Shihua Li are U.S. citizens and served as professors of human genetics at Emory University School of Medicine for 23 years.
According to Yahoo Finance, the investigation on Li was prompted by a letter that the National Institutes of Health (NIH) sent to over 10,000 academic research universities last August. The letter urged institutions to work with NIH and other agencies including the FBI to crack down on foreign influence, particularly from China. Recipients of U.S. federal funds have to disclose if they are receiving funds from other countries and are not allowed to share their grant applications with foreign governments. In April, MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas ousted three Chinese American senior researchers after NIH notified them about their foreign ties.
Earlier in 2019, NIH told Congress that it had identified at least 190 NIH grantees with potentially problematic foreign relationships, and that at least 55 institutions have begun investigations as a result of its inquiries.
On May 24, 2019, Science reported that Dr. Li Xiao-Jiang is forcefully disputing the charges, allenging their dismissal was “simultaneously without any notice or opportunity for us to respond to unverified accusations.” The university has also closed their joint laboratory, which is part of the medical school, and their websites are no longer accessible. Four postdoctoral students working in the lab, who are Chinese nationals, have been told to leave the United States within 30 days. None were given reasons for their terminations.
Li Xiao-Jiang disputed Emory’s claim, made in a university statement yesterday, that the two researchers “had failed to fully disclose foreign sources of research funding and the extent of their work for research institutions and universities in China.” (Papers they have published in many high-profile journals, as well as biographical information posted online, have disclosed funding and affiliations with Chinese institutions.)
“I have disclosed my Chinese research activity to Emory University each year since 2012,” Li Xiao-Jiang said. “I have provided documents requested by Emory University during the investigation of my research activity in China since early November 2018.” He also stated that he has not received “any copy of investigation that was sent to NIH by Emory, though I have requested Emory to give it to me.”
Links and Reports
2019/07/19 Washington Post: Scrutiny of Chinese American scientists raises fears of ethnic profiling
2019/06/17 知识分子: 埃默里大学风波又起，另一华人学者或已离开
2019/06/14 South China Morning Post: Professor at Emory University seeks legal support amid US probe into academics’ ties to China
2019/06/13 Deep Tech: 埃默里大学风波再起，华人科学家称“遭到史无前例的对待”丨独家对话旋涡中心于山平
2019/06/12 Science: Emory scientist was told to vacate his office. He says move is reprisal for activism on Asian ties
2019/05/28 美国亚裔快讯: 华裔科学家夫妇遭开除,为埃默里大学工作23年的李晓江夫妇违规了吗？
2019/05/28 South China Morning Post: Chinese college offers to hire two neuroscientists sacked by Emory University
2019/05/27 South China Morning Post: Scientist hits back at US university over ‘unusual and abrupt’ sacking in China funding ties case
2019/05/24 iNature: Science | 首度发声！李晓江强力驳斥埃默里大学指控
2019/05/24 South China Morning Post: Emory University in US fires scientists over undisclosed funding ties to China
2019/05/24 Science: Terminated Emory researcher disputes university’s allegations about China ties
2019/05/23 US China Press: 华人教授李晓江夫妇被解雇 中国雇员遭强制遣返 含孕妇
2019/05/23 Yahoo Finance: Professors fired from Emory University for hiding grants from China
Emory University: Chapter 13: Conflict of Interest and Commitment
MD Anderson Cancer Center
On April 19, 2019, the Houston Chronicle and Science jointly reported that 3 scientists were ousted by MD Anderson Cancer Center over concerns about Chinese conflicts of interest, the first such publicly disclosed punishments since federal officials directed some institutions to investigate specific professors in violation of granting agency policies.
MD Anderson took the actions after receiving e-mails last year from the National Institutes of Health, the nation’s largest public funder of biomedical research, describing conflicts of interest or unreported foreign income by five faculty members. The agency, which has been assisted by the FBI, gave the cancer center 30 days to respond.
The departures follow an unprecedented Houston gathering last summer at which FBI officials warned Texas academic and medical institution leaders of the threat, particularly from insiders, and called on them to share with the agency any and all suspicious behavior and information.
On April 25, 2019, the United Chinese Americans (UCA), a nationwide nonprofit and nonpartisan federation and a community civic movement, released a statement to raise concerns for Chinese American scientists as collateral damage in the crossfire between the United States and China due to deteriorating relations, including five appeals to address the current situartion. Read more at Community Responses. This was reported by the Houston Chronicle reported on April 29, 2019 as expressing "grave concern" that ethnically Chinese scientists have become "collateral damage in the crossfire" of deteriorating U.S.-China relations.
2019/03/25 Ropes & Gray LLP Teleconference presentation slides on "NIH Inquiries into Foreign Research Support, 'Foreign Components' of Awards, and Personal Income from Foreign Government Entities. See link to entire teleconference here.
"Have You No Sense of Decency, Sir?"
Are We Again in a "Fog of War?"
Lesson #1: Empathize with the enemy 5:40
Lesson #2: Rationality will not save us 12:15
Lesson #3: There is something beyond one’s self 20:55
Lesson #4: Maximize efficiency 25:40
Lesson #5: Proportionality should be a guideline in war 32:55
Lesson #6: Get the data 40:40
Lesson #7: Belief & seeing are both often wrong 54:30
Lesson #8: Be prepared to re-examine your reasoning 1:06:56
Lesson #9: In order to do good, you may have to engage in evil 1:11:00
Lesson #10: Never say never 1:15:00
Lesson #11: You can’t change human nature 1:22:55
From Robert McNamara's 1995 book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam. (Wikipedia)