Legal Docket by CourtListener: United States v. Li (1:20-cr-00164)
On May 8, 2020, Dr. Xiao-Jiang Li pleaded in an agreement to one count of filing a false tax return. He was sentenced to one year of probation and pay about $30,000 in restitution.
Dr. Li is now a researcher for China's National Academy of Sciences.
In effect, through its overreaching persecution and without due process, the National Institute of Health (NIH) and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) helped China by recruiting another top talent renowned in biotechnology away from the U.S.
The story about Dr. Li began on May 23, 2019 when 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
2020/05/11 Department of Justice: Former Emory University professor and Chinese “Thousand Talents” participant convicted and sentenced for filing a false tax return
2020/02/04 NBC News: Emory professor hit with criminal charge, linked to Chinese government program
2019/11/17 Liberation: Emory University professors fired in NIH’s anti-Chinese crackdown
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