Researcher charged for illegally using US grants to aid Chinese research: US Justice Department

A rheumatology professor and researcher at a United States University has been charged for allegedly using US grant funds to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology, the Department of Justice said in a press release.
“A rheumatology professor and researcher with strong ties to China has been ordered held without bond to face a charge of grant fraud for not disclosing that he was engaged in a sophisticated scheme to use approximately $4.1 million in grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop China’s expertise in the areas of rheumatology and immunology,” the Justice Department said.
The Professor is also charged with making false statements about maintaining employment in China at the same time he was employed at universities in the United States, including The Ohio State University.
The release said US authorities arrested the 57-year-old Song Guo Zheng on May 22 after he arrived in Anchorage, Alaska, to board a charter flight to China.
“Zheng had three large bags, one small suitcase and briefcase with two laptops, three cellular telephones, several USB drives, several silver bars, expired Chinese passports for his family, deeds for property in China, among other items”, the release said.
Citing court documents, the release said that since 2013, Zheng had allegedly used research conducted in the United States to benefit the Chinese government and he failed to disclose his strong ties to Beijing to his US employers or to the NIH.
“Yet again, we are faced with a professor at a U.S. University, who is a member of a Chinese Talent Plan, allegedly and deliberately failing to disclose his relationship with a Chinese university and receipt of funds from the Chinese Government in order to obtain millions of dollars in U.S. grant money designed to benefit the health and well-being of the people of the United States — not to be hijacked to supplement the research goals of the Chinese Communist Party,” said Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers.
“This case, like too many others, should serve as a reminder that the United States Government takes seriously the obligation of truthfulness and transparency on grant applications, and those who violate the law to benefit China or any other foreign nation will be held accountable,” he added.
Zheng faces one count of fraud or bribery over programs receiving federal funds and one count of making false statements about maintaining employment in China while working at universities in the United States.
He could face up to 15 years in prison if convicted, the release said, adding that the investigation into the matter is ongoing.